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THE ETERNAL HUSBAND 

AND OTHER STORIES 



THE NOVELS OF FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY 

Translated from the Russian by CONSTANCE 
GARNETT, Crown 8vo, 

THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV 

THE .DIOT 

THE POSSESSED 

CRIME AND PUNISHMENT 

THE HOI :i' OF THE DEAD 

THE INil/LTED AND INJURED 

A RAW YOUTH 

THE ETERNAL HUSBAND 

THE GAMBLER AND OTHER STORIES 

WHITE NIGHTS 

AN HONEST THIEF 

THE FRIEND OF THE FAMILY 



m 


FYODOR DOSTOEVSKY 

THE 

ETERNAL 

HUSBAND 

AND OTHER STORIES 

Translated from 
the Russian bj 

CONSTANCE GARNETT 



WILLIAM HEINEM ANN LTD 
MELBOURNE . LONDON . TORONTO 




IQI 7 

* 9*3 


FIRST PUBLISHED 
REPRINTED 1918, 


PRINTED IN GREAT BRITAIN 
BY HENDERSON & SPALDING, LONDON 



CONTENTS 


The Eternal Husband 
The Double 


A Gentle Spirit 




THE ETERNAL HUSBAND 

CHAPTER I 

VELCHANINOV 

The summer had come and, contrary to expectations, Vel- 
chaninov remained in Petersburg. The trip he had planned 
to the south of Russia had fallen through, and the end of his 
case was not in sight. This case — a lawsuit concerning an estate 
— had taken a very unfortunate turn. Three months earlier 
it had appeared to be quite straightforward, almost impossible 
to contest; but suddenly everything was changed. "And, 
in fact, everything has changed for the worse I ” Velchaninov 
began frequently and resentfully repeating that phrase to him- 
self. He was employing an adroit, expensive, and distinguished 
lawyer, and was not sparing money ; but through impatience and 
lack of confidence he had been tempted to meddle in the case 
himself too. He read documents and wrote statements which 
the lawyer rejected point-blank, ran from one court to another, 
collected evidence, and probably hindered everything; the 
lawyer complained, at any rate, and tried to pack him off to a 
summer villa. But Velchaninov could not even make up hip 
mind to go away. The dust, the stifling heat, the white nights 
of Petersburg that always fret the nerves were what he was 
enjoying in town. His flat was near the Grand Theatre; he 
had only recently taken it, and it, too, <was a failure. “ Every- 
thing is a failure ! ” he thought. His nervousness increased 
every day; but he had for a long time past been subject to 
nervousness and hypochondria. 

He was a man whose life had been full and varied, he was by 
no means young, thirty-eight or even thirty-nine, and his “ old 
age,” as he expressed it himself, had come upon him “ quite 
unexpectedly ” ; but he realized himself that he had grown 
older less by the number than by the quality, so to say, of hiB 
years, and that if he had begun to be aware of waning powers, 
the change Was rather from within than from without. In 
B 


I 



appearance he was still strong and hearty. He was a tall, 
sturdily-built fellow, with thick flaxen hair without a sign of 
gTeyness and a long fair beard almost half-way down his chest; 
at first sight he seemed somewhat slack and clumsy, but if you 
looked more attentively, you would detect at once that he was 
a man of excellent breeding, who had at some time received the 
education of an aristocrat. Velchaninov’s manners were still 
free, assured and even gracious, in spite of his acquired grumpi- 
ness and slackness. And he was still, even now, full of the most 
unhesitating, the most snobbishly insolent self-confidence, the 
depth of which he did not himself suspect, although he was a man 
not merely intelligent, but even sometimes sensible, almost 
cultured and unmistakably gifted. His open and ruddy face 
had been in old days marked by a feminine softness of complexion 
which attracted the notice of women ; and even now some people, 
looking at him, would say : “ What a picture of heolth ! What 
a complexion ! ” And yet this picture of health was cruelly 
subject to nervous depression. His eyes were large and blue, 
ten years earlier they had possessed great fascination; they 
were so bright, so gay, so careless that they could not but attract 
every one who came in contact with him. Now that he was 
verging on the forties, the brightness and good-humour were 
almost extinguished. Those eyes, which were alread}' sur- 
rounded by tiny wrinkles, had begun to betray the cynicism 
of a worn-out man of doubtful morals, a duplicity, an ever- 
increasing irony and another shade of feeling, which was new : 
a shade of sadness and of pain — a sort of absent-minded sadness 
as though about nothing in particular and yet acute. This 
sadness \yas especially marked when he was alone. And, strange 
to say, this man who had been only a couple of years before 
fond of noisy gaiety, careless and good-humoured, who had been 
so capital a teller of funny stories, liked nothing now so well 
as being absolutely alone. He purposely gave up a great number 
of acquaintances whom he need not have given up even now* 
in spite of his financial difficulties. It is true that his vanity 
counted for something in this. With his vanity and mistrustful- 
ness he could not have endured the society of his old acquaint- 
ances. But, by degrees, in solitude, even his vanity began to 
change its character. It grew no less, quite the contrary, indeed ; 
but it began to develop into a special sort of vanity which was 
new in him; it began at times to suffer from different causes — 
from unexpected causes which would have formerly been quite 


2 



inconceivable, from causes of a “ higher order ” than ever 
before — “ if one may use such an expression, if there really are 
higher or lower causes. . . This he added on his own account 
Yes, he had even come to that ; he was worrying about some 
sort of higher ideas of which he would never have thought twice 
in earlier days. In his own mind and in his conscience he called 
“ higher ” all " ideas ” at which (he found to his surprise) he 
could not laugh in his heart — there had never been such hitherto 
— in his secret heart only, of course; oh, in company it was a 
different matter ! He knew very well, indeed, that — if only 
the occasion were to arise — he would the very next day, in spite 
of all the mysterious and reverent resolutions of his conscience, 
with perfect composure disavow all these “ higher ideas ” 
and be the first to turn them into ridicule, without, of course, 
admitting anything. And this was really the case, in spite of 
a certain and, indeed, considerable independence of thought, 
which he had of late gained at the expense of the “ lower ideas ” 
that had mastered him till then. And how often, when he got 
up in the morning, he began to be ashamed of the thoughts and 
feelings he had passed through during a sleepless night ! And 
he had suffered continually of late from sleeplessness. He had 
noticed for some time past that he had become excessively 
sensitive about everything, trifles as well as matters of import- 
ance, and so he made up his mind to trust his feelings as little 
as possible. But he could not overlook some facts, the reality 
of which he was forced to admit. Of late his thoughts and 
sensations were sometimes at night completely transformed, 
and for the most part utterly unlike those which came to him 
in the early part of the day. This struck him — and he even 
consulted a distinguished doctor who was, however, an acquaint- 
ance; he spoke to him about it jocosely, of course. The answer 
he received was that the transformation of ideas and sensations, 
and even the possession of two distinct sets of thoughts $md 
sensations was a universal fact among persons “ who think 
and feel,” that the convictions of a whole lifetime were some- 
times transformed under the melancholy influences of night 
and sleeplessness; without rhyme or reason most momentous 
decisions were taken; but all this, of course, was only true up 
to a certain point — and, in fact, if the subject were too conscious 
of the double nature of his feelings, so that it began to be a 
source of suffering to him, it was certainly a symptom of 
approaching illness; and then steps must be taken at once. 

3 



The best thing of all was to make a radical change in the mode 
of life, to alter one’s diet, or even to travel. Relaxing medicine 
was beneficial, of course. 

Velchaninov did not care to hear more ; but to his mind it 
was conclusively shown to be illness. 

“ And so all this is only illness, all these * higher ideas ’ are 
mere illness and nothing more ! ” he sometimes exclaimed to 
himself resentfully. He was very loth to admit this. 

Soon, however, what had happened exclusively in the hours of 
the night began to be repeated in the morning, only with more 
bitterness than at night, with anger instead of remorse, with 
irony instead of emotion. What really happened was that 
certain incidents in his past, even in his distant past, began 
suddenly, and God knows why, to come more and more fre- 
quently back to his mind, but they came back in quite a peculiar 
way. Velchaninov had, for instance, complained for a long time 
past of loss of memory : he would forget the faces of acquaint- 
ances, who were offended by his cutting them when they met ; 
he sometimes completely forgot a book he had read months 
before, and yet in spite of this loss of memory, evident every day 
(and a source of great uneasiness to him), everything concerning 
the remote past, things that had been quite forgotten for ten 
or fifteen years, would sometimes come suddenly into his mind 
now with such amazing exactitude of details and impressions 
that he felt as though he were living through them again. Some 
of the facts he remembered had been so completely forgotten 
that it seemed to him a miracle that they could be recalled. 
But this was not all, and, indeed, what man of wide experience 
has not some memory of a peculiar sort ? But the point was 
that all that was recalled came back now with a quite fresh, 
surprising and, till then, inconceivable point of view, and seemed 
as though some one were leading up to it on purpose. Why did 
some things he remembered strike him now as positive crimes ? 
And it was not a question of the judgments of his mind only : 
he would have put little faith in his gloomy, solitary and sick 
mind ; but it reached the point of curses and almost of tears, of 
inward tears. Why, two years before, he would not have 
believed it if he had been told that he would ever shed tears ! 
At first, however, what he remembered was rather of a mortifying 
than of a sentimental character : he recalled certain failures and 
humiliations in society; he remembered, for instance, how he 
had been slandered by an intriguing fellow, and in consequence 

4 



refused admittance to a certain house; how, for instance, 
and not so long ago, he had been publicly and unmistakably 
insulted, and had not challenged the offender to a duel ; how in 
a circle of very pretty women he had been made the subject of 
an extremely witty epigram and had found no suitable answer. 
He even recollected one or two unpaid debts — trifling ones, it 
is true, but debts of honour-owing to people whom he had 
given up visiting and even spoke ill of. He was also worried 
(but only .in his worst moments) by the thought of the two 
fortunes, both considerable ones, which he had squandered in 
the stupidest way possible. But soon he began to remember 
things of a “ higher order.” 

Suddenly, for instance, apropos of nothing, he remembered 
the forgotten, utterly forgotten, figure of a harmless, grey- 
headed and absurd old clerk, whom he had once, long, long ago, 
and with absolute impunity, insulted in public simply to gratify 
his own conceit, simply for the sake of an amusing and successful 
jest, which was repeated and increased his prestige. The 
incident had been so completely forgotten that he could not 
even recall the old man’s surname, though all the surroundings 
of the incident rose before his mind with incredible clearness. 
He distinctly remembered that the old man was defending his 
daughter, who was unmarried, though no longer quite young, 
and had become the subject of gossip in the town. The old man 
had begun to answer angrily, but he suddenly burst out crying 
before the whole company, which made some sensation. They 
had ended by making him drunk with champagne as a joke 
and getting a hearty laugh out of it. And now when, apropos 
of nothing, Velchaninov remembered how the poor old man 
had sobbed and hidden his face in his hands like a child, it 
suddenly seemed to him as though he had never forgotten it. 
And, strange to say, it had all seemed to him very amusing at 
the time, especially some of the details, such as the way he had 
covered his face with his hands; but now it was quite the 
contrary. 

Later, he recalled how, simply as a joke, he had slandered the 
very pretty wife of a schoolmaster, and how the slander had 
reached the husband’s ears. Velchaninov had left the town 
soon after and never knew what the final consequences of his 
slander had been, but now he began to imagine how all might 
have ended — and there is no knowing to what lengths his 
imagination might not have gone, if this memory had not 

5 



suddenly been succeeded by a much more recent reminiscence 
of a young girl of the working-class, to whom he had not even 
felt attracted, and of whom, it must be admitted, he was actually 
ashamed. Yet, though he could not have said what had induced 
him, he had got her into trouble and had simply abandoned her 
and his child without even saying good-bye (it was true, he had 
no time to spare), when he left Petersburg. He had tried to 
find that girl for a whole year afterwards, but he had not suc- 
ceeded in tracing her. He had, it seemed, hundreds of such 
reminiscences — and each one of them seemed to bring dozens 
of others in its train. By degrees his vanity, too, began to 
suffer. 

We have said already that his vanity had degenerated into 
something peculiar. That was true. At moments (rare 
moments, however), he even forgot himself to such a degree 
that he ceased to be ashamed of not keeping his own carriage, 
that he trudged on foot from one court to another, that he began 
to be somewhat negligent in his dress. And if some one of his 
own acquaintance had scanned him with a sarcastic stare in the 
street or had simply refused to recognize him, he might really 
have had pride enough to pass him by without a frown. II is 
indifference would have been genuine, not assumed for effect. 
Of course, this was only at times : these were only the moments 
of forgetfulness and nervous irritation, yet his vanity had by 
degrees grown less concerned with the subjects that had once 
affected it, and was becoming concentrated on one question, 
which haunted him continually. 

“ Why, one would think,*' he began reflecting satirically some- 
times (an^ he almost always began by being satirical when 
ho thought about himself), “ why, one would think some one 
up aloft were anxious for the reformation of my morals, and 
were sending me these cursed reminiscences and ‘ tears of 
repentance ! * So be it, but it’s ail useless ! It is all shooting 
with blank cartridge 1 As though I did not know for certain, 
more certainly than certainty, that in spite of these fits of tearful 
remorse and self-reproach, I haven’t a grain of independence 
for all my foolish middle age ! Why, if the same temptation 
were to turn up to-morrow, if circumstances, for instance, were 
to make it to my interest to spread a rumour that the school- 
master’s wife had taken presents from me, I Bhould certainly 
spread it, I shouldn’t hesitate —and it would be even worse, 
more loathsome than the first time, just because it would be the 

6 



second time and not the first time. Yes, if I were insulted again 
this minute by that little prince whose leg I shot off eleven years 
ago, though he was the only son of his mother, I should challenge 
him at once and condemn him to crutches again. So they are 
no better than blank cartridges, and there’s no sense in them 1 
And what’s the good of remembering the past when I’ve not the 
slightest power of escaping from myself ? ” 

And though the adventure with the schoolmaster’s wife was 
not repeated, though he did not condemn any one else to crutches, 
the very idea that it inevitably would be the same, if the same 
circumstances arose, almost killed him ... at times. One 
cannot, in reality, suffer from memories all the time; one can 
rest and enjoy oneself in the intervals. 

So, indeed, Velehaninov did : he was ready to enjoy himself 
in the intervals; yet his sojourn in Petersburg grew more and 
more unpleasant as time went on. July was approaching. 
Intermittently ho had flashes of determination to give up every- 
thing, the lawsuit and all, and to go away somewhere without 
looking back, to go suddenly, on the spur of the moment, to the 
Crimea, for instance. But, as a rule, an hour later he had 
scorned the idea and had laughed at it : “ These hateful thoughts 
won’t stop short at sending me to the south, if once they’ve 
begun and if I’ve any sense of decency, and so it’s useless to 
run away from them, and, indeed, there’s no reason to.” 

“ And what’s the object of running away ? ” he went on 
brooding in his despondency ; “ it’s so dusty here, so stifling, 
everything in the house is so messy. In those law-courts where 
I hang about among those busy people, there is such a scurrying 
to and fro like mice, such a mass of sordid cares ! All the people 
left in town, all the faces that flit by from morning till night so 
naively and openly betray their self-love, their guileless insolence, 
the cowardice of their little souls, the chicken-heartedness of 
their little natures — why, it’s a paradise for a melancholy man, 
seriously speaking ! Everything is open, everything is clear, 
no one thinks it necessary to hide anything as they do among 
our gentry in our summer villas or at watering-places abroad — 
and so it’s more deserving of respect, if only for its openness 
and simplicity ! . • . I won’t go away 1 I’ll stay here if I 
burst l ” 


7 



CHAPTER II 

THE GENTLEMAN WITH CBAPB ON HIS HAT 

It was the third of July. The heat and stuffiness were in- 
sufferable. The day had been a very busy one for Velchaninov ; 
he had had to spend the whole morning in walking and driving 
from place to place, and he had before him the prospect of an 
unavoidable visit that evening to a gentleman — a lawyer and a 
civil councillor — whom he hoped to catch unawares at his villa 
out of town. At six o’clock Velchaninov went at last into a 
restaurant (the fare was not beyond criticism, though the cooking 
was French), on the Nevsky Prospect, near the Police Bridge. 
He sat down at the little table in his usual comer and asked 
for the dinner of the day. 

He used to eat the dinner that was provided for a rouble 
and paid extra for the wine, and he regarded this as a sacrifice 
to the unsettled state of his finances and an act of prudence on 
his part. Though he wondered how he could possibly eat 
such stuff, he nevertheless used to devour it to the last crumb — 
and every time with as much appetite as though he had not 
eaten for three days before. " There’s something morbid about 
it,” he would mutter to himself sometimes, noticing his appetite. 
But on this occasion he took his seat at his little table in a very 
bad humour; tossed his hat down angrily, put his elbows on the 
table, and sank into thought. 

Though he could be so polite and, on occasion, so loftily im- 
perturbable, he would probably now, if some one dining near 
him had been noisy, or the boy waiting on him had failed to 
understand at the first word, have been as blustering as a junker 
and would perhaps have made a scene. 

The soup was put before him. He took up the ladle, but 
before he had time to help himself, he dropped it, and almost 
jumped up from the table. A surprising idea suddenly dawned 
upon him : at that instant — and God knows by what process — 
he suddenly realized the cause of his depression, of the special 
extra depression which had tormented him of late for several 
days together, had for some unknown reason fastened upon him 
and for some unknown cause refused to be shaken off; now 
he suddenly saw it all and it was as plain as a pikestaff. 

“ It’s all that hat,” he muttered as though inspired. “ It’s 

8 



nothing but that cursed bowler hat with that beastly mourning 
crape that is the cause of it all ! ” 

He began pondering — and the more he pondered the more 
morose he grew , and the more extraordinary “ the whole 
adventure ” seemed to him. 

“ But ... it is not an adventure, though/’ he protested, 
distrustful of himself. “ As though there were anything in the 
least like an adventure about it ! ” 

All that had happened was this. Nearly a fortnight before 
(he did not really remember, but he fancied it was about a fort- 
night), he had first met somewhere in the street, near the comer 
of Podyatchesky Street and Myestchansky Street, a gentleman 
with crape on his hat. The gentleman was like any one else, 
there was nothing peculiar about him, he passed quickly, but 
he stared somewhat too fixedly at Velchaninov, and for some 
reason at once attracted his attention in a marked degree. His 
countenance struck Velchaninov as familiar. He had certainly 
at some time met it somewhere. “ But I must have seen 
thousands of faces in my life, I can’t remember them all ! ” 
Before he had gone twenty paces further he seemed to have 
forgotten the encounter, in spite of the impression made at first. 
But the impression persisted the whole day — and it was somewhat 
singular, it took the form of a peculiar undefined annoyance. 
Now, a fortnight later, he remembered all that distinctly; he 
remembered, too, what he had failed to grasp at the time — that 
is, what his annoyance was due to ; and he had so utterly failed 
to grasp it that he had not even connected his ill-humour all 
that evening with the meeting that morning. 

But the gentleman had lost no time in recalling himself to 
Velchaninov’s mind, and next day had come across the latter 
in the Nevsky Prospect again, and again stared at him rather 
strangely. Velchaninov dismissed him with a curse and imme- 
diately afterwards wondered why he cursed. It is true that there 
are faces that at once arouse an undefined and aimless aversion. 

“Yes, I certainly have met him somewhere,” he muttered 
thoughtfully, an hour after the meeting. And he remained in 
a very bad humour the whole evening afterwards ; he even had 
a bad dream at night, and yet it never entered his head that the 
whole cause of this new fit of despondency was nothing but 
that gentleman in mourning, although he did not once think of 
him that evening ! He had even been wrathful at the moment 
that such a “ wretched object ” could occupy his attention as 

9 



long as it did and would certainly have thought it degrading to 
ascribe his agitation to him, if it had ever occurred to his mind 
to do so. Two days later they met again in a crowd coming 
off one of the Nevsky steamers. On this third occasion Vel- 
chaninov was ready to swear that the gentleman with the crape 
on his hat recognized him and made a dash for him, but was 
borne away in the crush ; he fancied he had even had the 
“ effrontery ” to hold out his hand to him ; perhaps he had even 
cried out and shouted his name. That, however, Velchaninov 
had not heard distinctly, but . . . “ Who is the low fellow, 
though, and why does he not come up to me, if he really does 
know me, and if he is so anxious to ? ” he thought angrily, as he 
got into a cab and drove towards Smolny monastery. Half- 
an-hour later he was noisily arguing with his lawyer, but in the 
evening and the night he was suffering again from the most 
abominable and most fantastic attack of acute depression. 
“ Am I in for a bilious attack ? ” he wondered uneasily, looking 
at himself in the looking-glass. 

This was the third meeting. Afterwards, for five days in 
succession, he met “no one,” and not a sign was seen of the 
low fellow. And yet the gentleman with the crape on his hat 
was continually in his mind. With some surprise Velchaninov 
caught himself wondering : “ What’s the matter with me — am I 
sick on his account, or what ? H’m ! . . . and he must have a 
lot to do in Petersburg, too — and for whom is he wearing crape ? 
He evidently recognized me, but I don’t recognize him. And 
why do these people put on crape ? It’s out of keeping with 
him somehow. ... I fancy if I look at him closer, I shall 
recognize him. ...” 

And something seemed faintly stirring in his memory, like 
some familiar but momentarily forgotten word, which one tries 
with all one’s might to recall ; one knows it very well and knows 
that one knows it; one knows exactly what it means, one is 
close upon it and yet it refuses to be remembered, in spite of 
one’s efforts. 

“ It was. ... It was long ago . . . and it was somewhere. 

. . . There was . . . there was . . . but, damn the fellow, 
whatever there was or wasn’t. . . .” he cried angrily all at once ; 
“ it is not worth while to demean and degrade myself over that 
wretched fellow. . . .” 

He grew horribly angry, but in the evening, when he suddenly 
remembered that he had been angry that morning, and “horribly” 

io 



angry, It was extremely disagreeable to him ; he felt as though 
some one had caught him in something shameful. He was 
bewildered and surprised. 

“ Then there must be reasons for my being so angry . . . 
apropos of nothing ... at a mere reminiscence. . . He 
left the thought unfinished. 

And next day he felt angrier than ever, but this time he 
fancied he had grounds for it, and that he was quite right in 
feeling so; “it was unheard-of insolence,” ho thought. What 
had happened was the fourth meeting. The gentleman with 
crape on his hat had suddenly made his appearance again, as 
though he had sprung out of the earth. Velchaninov had just 
caught in the street the indispensable civil councillor before 
mentioned, of whom he was still in pursuit, meaning to pounce 
on him unawares at his summer villa, for the gentleman, whom 
Velchaninov scarcely knew, though it was so necessary to see 
him about his business, on that occasion as on this eluded him, 
and was evidently keeping out of sight and extremely reluctant 
to meet him. Delighted at coming across him at last, Velchaninov 
walked hurriedly beside him, glancing into his face and straining 
every effort to bring the wily old fellow to the discussion of a 
certain subject, in which the latter might be indiscreet enough 
to let slip the facts of which he had so long been on the track ; 
but the crafty old man had his own views, and kept putting him 
off with laughter or silence — and it was just at this extremely 
absorbing moment that Velchaninov descried on the opposite 
pavement the gentleman with crape on his hat. He was standing 
staring at them both — he was watching them, that was evident, 
and seemed to be jeering at them. 

“ Damnation ! ” cried Velchaninov in a fury, as he left the 
civil councillor at his destination and ascribed his failure with 
him to the sudden appearance of that “ impudent fellow.” 
“ Damnation ! is lie spying on me ? He’s evidently following 
me. Hired by some one, perhaps, and . . . and . . . and, by 
Jove ! he was jeering at me ! By Jove ! I ll thrash him. . . . 
I’m sorry I’ve no stick with me ! I’ll buy a stick ! I won’t 
let it pass. Who is he 1 I insist on knowing who he is.” 

It was three days after this fourth meeting that Velchaninov 
was at his restaurant, as we have described him, agitated 
in earnest and even somewhat overwhelmed. He could not help 
being conscious of it himself, in spite of his pride. He was 
forced at last, putting all the circumstances together, to suspect 

n 



that all hi 0 depression, all this peculiar despondency and the 
agitation that had persisted for the last fortnight was caused 
by no other than this gentleman in mourning, “ nonentity as 
he was.” 

“ I may be a hypochondriac,” thought Velchaninov, “ and 
so I am ready to make a mountain out of a mole-hill, but does 
it make it any the better for me that all this is perhaps only 
fancy ! Why, if every rogue like that is going to be able to upset 
one in this way, why . . . it's . . . why. . . .” 

Certainly in the meeting of that day (the fifth), which had so 
agitated Velchaninov, the mountain had proved to be little 
more than a mole-hill : the gentleman had as before darted by 
him, but this time without scrutinizing Velchaninov, and without, 
as before, betraying that he recognized him; on the contrary, 
he dropped his eyes and seemed to be very anxious to escape 
being noticed. Velchaninov turned round and shouted at the 
top of his voice — 

“ Hi ! you with the crape on your hat ! Hiding now ! Stop : 
who are you ? ” 

The question (and his shouting altogether) was very irrational, 
but Velchaninov only realized that after he had uttered it. 
The gentleman turned rouild at the shout, stood still for a 
minute disconcerted, smiled, seemed on the point of doing or 
saying something, was obviously for a minute in a state of the 
utmost indecision, then he suddenly turned and rushed away 
without looking back. Velchaninov looked after him with 
astonishment. 

“ And what if it’s a case of my forcing myself on him, not his 
forcing himself on me ? ” he thought. “ And that’s all it 
amounts to ? ” 

When he had finished dinner he made haste to set off to the 
summer villa to see the civil councillor. He did not find him ; 
he was informed that “ his honour had not returned that day, 
and probably would not come back till three or four o’clock in 
the morning, as he was staying in town to a birthday party.” 
This was so mortifying that, in his first fury, Velchaninov decided 
himself to go to the birthday party, and even set off to do so ; 
but reflecting on the road that it was a long way to go he dis- 
missed the cab and trudged home on foot to his fiat near the 
Grand Theatre. He felt that he wanted exercise. He must, 
at all costs, overcome his usual sleeplessness, and sleep sound 
that night, to soothe his excited nerves; and in order to sleep 

12 



he must anyway be tired. And, as it was a long walk, it was half- 
past ten before he reached home, and he certainly was very tired. 

Though he so criticized the flat that he had taken the previous 
March, and abused it so malignantly, excusing himself to himself 
on the plea that he was only “ camping there temporarily,” 
and stranded in Petersburg through that “ damned lawsuit ” — 
the flat was by no means so bad and bo unsuitable as he made 
out. The approach was certainly rather dark and “ grubby ” 
under the gateway, but the flat itself, on the second storey, 
consisted of two big, lofty and bright rooms, separated from 
one another by a dark entry, and looking one into the street, the 
other into the courtyard. Adjoining the room the windows of 
which looked into the courtyard was a small study, which had 
been designed for a bedroom ; but Velchaninov kept it littered 
with books and papers ; he slept in one of the larger rooms, the 
one that looked into the street. He had a bed made up on the 
sofa. The furniture was quite decent, though second-hand, and 
he had besides a few articles of value— the relics of his former 
prosperity : bronze and china, and big, genuine Bokhara rugs ; 
even two good pictures had been preserved ; but everything 
had been unmistakably untidy and even dusty and nothing had 
been put in its place ever since his servant, Pelagea, had gone 
home to Novgorod for a holiday and left him alone. The oddity 
of having a solitary female servant for a bachelor and man of 
the world who was still anxious to keep up the style of a gentle- 
man almost made Velchaninov blush, though he was very well 
satisfied with his Pelagea. The girl had come to him when he 
was taking the flat in the spring, from a family of his acquaint- 
ance who were going abroad, and she had put the flat to rights. 
But when she went away he could not bring himself to engage 
another woman ; to engage a manservant was not worth while 
for a short time ; besides, he did not like menservants. And so it 
was arranged that the sister of the porter’s wife should come in 
every morning to clear up and that Velchaninov should leave the 
key at the porter’s lodge when he went out. She did absolutely 
nothing, merely pocketed her wages ; and he suspected her of 
pilfering. Yet he dismissed everything with a shrug and was 
positively glad that he was left quite alone in the flat. But there 
are limits to everything; and at some jaundiced moments the 
“ filth ” was absolutely insufferable to his nerves, and he almost 
always went into his rooms with a feeling of repugnance on 
returning home. 


*3 



But this time he barely gave himself time to undress ; flinging 
himself on the bed, he irritably resolved to think of nothing, but 
to go to sleep “this minute,” whatever might happen; and, 
strange to say, he did fall asleep as soon as his head touched the 
pillow; such a thing had not happened to him for almost a 
month. 

He slept for nearly three hours, but his sleep was uneasy, 
and he had strange dreams such as one has in fever. He dreamed 
of some crime which he had committed and concealed and of 
which he was accused by people who kept coming up to him. 
An immense crowd collected, but more people still came, so that 
the door was not shut but remained open. But his whole 
interest was centred on a strange person, once an intimate friend 
of his, who was dead, but now somehow suddenly came to see 
him. What made it most worrying wap that Velchaninov did 
not know the man, had forgotten his name and could not recall 
it. All he knew was that he had once liked him very much. 
All the other people who had come up seemed expecting from 
this man a final word that would decide Velchaninov’s guilt or 
innocence, and all were waiting impatiently. But he sat at the 
table without moving, was mute and would not speak. The 
noise did not cease for a moment, the general irritation grew 
more intense, and suddenly in a fury Velchaninov struck the 
man for refusing to speak, and felt a strange enjoyment in doing 
it. His heart thrilled with horror and misery at what he had 
done, but there was enjoyment in that thrill. Utterly exas- 
perated, he struck him a second time and a third, and, drunk 
with rage and terror, which reached the pitch of madness, but 
in which there was an intense enjoyment, he lost count of his 
blows, and went on beating him without stopping. He wanted 
to demolish it all, all. Suddenly something happened : they 
all shrieked horribly and turned round to the door, as though 
expecting something, and at that instant there came the sound 
of a ring at the bell, repeated three times, with violence enough 
to pull the bell off Velchaninov woke up and was wide awake 
in an instant. He leapt headlong out of bed and rushed to the 
door ; he was absolutely convinced that the ring at the bell was 
not a dream and that some one really had rung at his bell that 
moment. “ It would be too unnatural for such a distinct, such 
a real, palpable ring to be only a dream ! ” 

But to his surprise the ring at the bell turned out to bo a 
dream, too. Ho opened the door, went out on the landing, 

14 



even peeped down the stairs — there was absolutely no one there. 
The bell hung motionless. Surprised, but relieved, he went 
back into his room. When he had lighted a candle he remem- 
bered that he had left the door closed but not locked or bolted. 
He had sometimes in the past forgotten when he came home to 
lock the door for the night, not thinking it of much importance. 

Pelagea had often given him a talking-to about it. He went 
back into the passage, shut the door, opened it once more and 
looked out on the landing, but only fastened the door on the 
inside with the hook, without taking the trouble to turn the 
key. The clock struck half-past two; so he must have slept 
three hours. 

His dream had so disturbed him that he did not want to go 
to bed again at once, and made up his mind to walk up and down 
his room for half-an-hour or — “ Time enough to smoke a 
cigar ” — he thought. Hastily dressing, he went to the window 
and lifted the thick stuff curtain, and the white blind behind it. 
It was already daylight in the street. The light summer nights 
of Petersburg always worked on his nerves and of late had 
intensified his insomnia, so that it was expressly on this account 
that he had, a fortnight previously, put up thick stuff curtains 
which completely excluded the light when they were fully 
drawn. Letting in the daylight and forgetting the lighted 
candle on the table, he fell to pacing up and down the room, 
still oppressed by a sort of sick and heavy feeling. The impres- 
sion of the dream was still upon him. A real feeling of distress 
that he should have been capable of raising his hand against 
that man and beating him still persisted. 

“ That man doesn’t exist, and never has existed ; it’s all a 
dream. Why am I worrying about it ? ” 

He began thinking with exasperation, as though all his troubles 
were concentrated on this, that he was certainly beginning to 
be ill — “ a sick man.” 

It was always painful to him to think that he was getting old 
and growing feebler, and in his bad moments he exaggerated 
his age and failing powers on purpose to irritate himself. 

“ Old age,” he muttered ; “ I’m getting quite old, I’m losing 
my memory, I see apparitions, I dream dreams, bells ring. . . . 
Damn it all, I know from experience, that such dreams are 
always a sign of fever with me. ... I am convinced that all 
this business with the crape gentleman is a dream too. I was 
certainly right yesterday : it’s I, I, who am pestering him, not 

15 



he me. I’ve woven a romance about him, and I am hiding 
under the table in my fright at it. And why do I call him a 
low fellow? He may be a very decent person. His face is 
not attractive, certainly, though there is nothing particularly 
ugly about it ; he’s dressed like any one else. Only in his eyes 
there’s something. . . . Here I’m at it again ! I’m thinking 
about him again ! ! What the devil does the look in his eyes 
matter to me ? Can’t I get on without that. . . .” 

Among the thoughts that kept starting up in his mind, one 
rankled painfully : he felt suddenly convinced that this gentle- 
man with the crape on his hat had once been an acquaintance 
on friendly terms with him, and now sneered at him when he 
met him because he knew some great secret about him in the 
past and saw him now in such a humiliating position. He went 
mechanically to the window, meaning to open it and get a 
breath of the night air, and — and he suddenly shuddered all 
over : it seemed to him that something incredible and unheard 
of was suddenly happening before his eyes. 

He had not yet opened the window but he made haste to slip 
behind the comer of the window apd hide himself : on the deserted 
pavement opposite he had imdSfefkly seen directly facing the house 
the man with the drape oh hi&p&t. The gentleman was standing 
on the pavement looking towards his windows, but evidently 
not noticing him, stared inquisitively at the house as though 
considering something. He seemed to be deliberating and unable 
to decide : he lifted his hand and seemed to put his finger to 
his forehead. At last he made up his mind : took a cursory 
glance round, and began stealthily on tiptoe crossing the street. 
Yes : he had gone in at the gateway by the little gate (which 
sometimes in summer was left unbolted till three o’clock). 

" He’s coming to me,” flashed on Velchaninov’s mind, and, 
also on tiptoe, he ran headlong to the door and stood before it 
silent and numb with suspense, softly laying his trembling right 
hand on the hook of the door he had just fastened, listening 
intently for the sound of footsteps on the stairs. 

His heart beat so violently that he was afraid he might not 
hear the stranger come up on tiptoe. He did not understand 
what it meant, but he felt it all with tenfold intensity. His 
dream seemed to have melted into reality. Velchaninov was 
by temperament bold. He sometimes liked to display fearless- 
ness in the face of danger even if he were only admiring himself 
with no one else to look at him* But now there was something 

16 



else as well. The man who had so lately been given up to 
hypochondria and nervous depression was completely trans- 
formed ; ho was not the same man. A nervous, noiseless laugh 
broke from him. From behind the closed door he divined 
every movement of the stranger. 

“ Ah ! now he’s coming in, he has come in, he’s looking about 
him; he’s listening downstairs ; he’s holding his breath, stealing 
up ... ah ! He has taken hold of the handle, he’s pulling it. 
trying it ! He reckoned on its not being locked ! So he knows 
I sometimes forget to lock it ! He’s pulling at the handle again ; 
why, does he imagine that the hook will come out ? It’s a pity 
to part ! Isn’t it a pity to let him go like this ? ” 

And indeed everything must have happened just as he 
pictured it ; some one really was standing on the other side of 
the door, and was softly and noiselessly trying the lock, and was 
pulling at the handle and — “ Of course, had his object in doing 
so.” But by now Velchaninov had resolved to settle the question, 
and with a sort of glee got ready for the moment. He had an 
irresistible longing to unfasten the hook, suddenly to fling open 
the door, and to confront the “ bugbear ” face to face. “ What 
may you be doing here, pray, ho^j^red Sir ? ” 

And so he did : seizing the mt &ent, he suddenly lifted the 
hook, pushed the door and — almost fell over the gentleman with 
crape on his hat. 


CHAPTER III 

PAVEL PAVLOVITCH TRUSOTSKY 

The latter stood speechless, rooted to the spot. They stood 
facing one another in the doorway, and stared fixedly into 
each other’s faces. Some moments passed and suddenly — 
Velchaninov recognized his visitor ! 

At the same time the visitor evidently realized that Vel- 
chaninov recognized him fully. There was a gleam in his eye 
that betrayed it. In one instant his whole face melted into a 
sugary smile. 

“ I have the pleasure, I believe, of addressing Alexey Ivano- 
vitch ? ” he almost chanted in a voice of deep feeling, ludicrously 
incongruous with the circumstances. 

“ Surely you are not Pavel Pavlovitch Trusotsky ? ” Vel- 
chaninov brought out with an air of perplexity. 



“ We were acquainted nine years ago at T , and if you 

will allow me to remind you — we were intimately acquainted.” 

“ Yes ... to be sure, but now it’s three o’clock, and for the 
last ten minutes you’ve been trying whether my door was locked 
or not.” 

“ Three o’clock ! ” cried the visitor, taking out his watch and 
seeming positively grieved and surprised ; “ why, so it is. Three ! 
I beg your pardon, Alexey Ivanovitch, I ought to have considered 
before coming up : I’m quite ashamed. I’ll come again and 
explain, in a day or two, but now. ...” 

“ No ! If there’s to be an explanation will you kindly give it 
me this minute ! ” Velchaninov caught him up. “ Please walk 
inside, into this room — no doubt you intended to come into 
the room yourself, and have not turned up in the middle of the 
night simply to try the lock.” 

He was excited and at the same time disconcerted, and felt 
that he could not grasp the position. Ho was even somewhat 
ashamed — there proved to be neither mystery nor danger. The 
whole phantasmagoria had proved to be nothing; all that had 
turned up was the foolishjfigqre of some Pavel Pavlovitch. 
And yet he did not befieya^hat it was all so simple; ho had 
a vague presentiment andf dread of something. Making his 
visitor sit down in an armchair, he seated himself impatiently 
on his bed, not a yard away, bent forward with his hands %>n his 
knees and waited irritably for him to speak. He scanned him 
greedily and remembered him. But, strange to say, the man was 
silent, quite silent, and seemed not to realize that he was “ in 
duty bound ” to speak at once ; on the contrary, he, too, gazed 
at Velchaninov with a look of expectation. It was possible that 
he was simply timid, feeling at first a certain awkwardness like 
a mouse in a trap ; but Velchaninov flew into a rage. 

“ What do you mean by it ! ” he cried ; “ you are not a phantom 
or a dream, I suppose ! You’ve not come to play at being 
dead, surely ? Explain yourself, my good man l ” 

The visitor fidgeted, smiled, and began warily — 

“ So far as I see, what strikes you most of all is my coming at 
such an hour and under such peculiar circumstances. ... So 
that, remembering all the past, and how we parted — it’s really 
strange to me now. . . . Though, indeed, I had no intention of 
calling, and it has only happened by accident. . . 

“ How by accident ? Why, I saw you through the window 
run across the street on tiptoe ! ” 

18 



44 Ah, you saw me ! So perhaps you know more about it all 
than I do ! But I’m only irritating you . . . You see, I arrived 
here three weeks ago on business of my own. ... I am Pavel 
Pavloviteh Trusotsky, you know ; you recognized me yourself. 

I am here to try to get transferred to another province, and to 
a post in another department considerably superior. . . . But 
all that’s neither here nor there, though . . . The point is, if 
you must know, that I have been hanging about here for the 
last three weeks, and I seem to be spinning out my business on 
purpose — that is, tho business of my transfer — and really, if it 
comes off I do believe I shan’t notice that it has come off and 
shall stay on in your Petersburg, feeling as I do now. I hang 
about as though I had lost sight of my object and, as it were, 
pleased to have lost sight of it — feeling as I do ! . . .” 

“Feeling how? ” Velchaninov asked, frowning 

The visitor raised his eyes to him, lifted his hat and pointed 
to the crape on it. 

44 Why, look; that’s how I’m feeling.” 

Velchaninov gazed blankly first At the crape and then at the 
countenance of his visitor. Suddenly the colour rushed into his 
cheeks and he grew terribly agiffftod. 

44 Surely not Natalya VassUyevnal ** 

44 Yes ! Natalya Vassilyevna ! Last March . . . consumption, 
and almost suddenly, after two or three months’ illness ! And I 
am left — as you see ! ” 

As he said this the visitor, in deep emotion, put out his hands 
on each side, the hat with the crape on it flapping in his left one, 
while he made a low bow that displayed his bald head for ten 
seconds at least. 

His air and his gesture seemed to revive Velchaninov; an 
ironical and even provocative smile hovered on his lips — but 
only for a moment : the news of the death of this lady (whom 
he had known so long ago and had long ago succeeded in for- 
getting) gave him a shock which was a complete surprise to 
him. 

44 Is it possible ? ” — he muttered the first words that came to 
his tongue ; 44 and why didn’t you come straight and tell me ? ” 

44 1 thank you for your sympathy. I see it and appreciate it, 
in spite of . . .” 

44 In spite of ? ” 

44 In spite of so many years of separation, you have just shown 
such sympathy for my sorrow and even fqr me that I am, of 

19 



course, sensible of gratitude. That was all I wanted to express. 
It’s not that I had doubts of my friends : I can find here 
the truest friends at once — Stepan Mihalovitcb Bagautov, for 
instance. But you know, Alexey Ivanovitch, our acquaintance 
with you — friendship rather, as I gratefully recall it — was over 
nine years ago, you never came back to us; there was no 
interchange of letters. . . .” 

The visitor chanted his phrases as though to music, but all 
the while that he was holding forth he looked at the floor, 
though, no doubt, all the time he saw everything. But Vel- 
chaninov had by now regained his composure. 

With a very strange impression, which grew stronger and 
stronger, he listened to Pavel Pavlovitch and watched him and 
when the latter suddenly paused, the most incongruous and 
surprising ideas rushed in a sudden flash into his mind. 

“ But how was it I didn't recognize you till now ? ” he cried, 
growing more animated. “ Why, we've stumbled across each 
other five times in the street ! ” 

“ Yes ; I remember that, too ; you were constantly crossing 
my path — twice, or perhaps three times. . . .” 

“ That is, you were constantly coming upon me, not I upon 
you ? ” 

Velchaninov stood up and suddenly, quite unexpectedly, he 
began laughing. Pavel Pavlovitch paused, looked at him at- 
tentively, but at once continued — 

“ And as for your not recognizing me, you might well have 
forgotten me, and, besides, I’ve had smallpox and it has left 
some traces on my face.” 

“ Smallpox ? To be sure, he has had smallpox ! However 
did you ” 

“ Manage that ? Anything may happen. One never can tell, 
Alexey Ivanovitch; one does have such misfortunes.” 

“ Only it’s awfully funny all the same. But continue, con- 
tinue, my dear friend ! ” 

“ Though I met you, too ” 

" Stay ! Why did you say 1 manage that ’ just now ? I meant 
to use a much more polite expression. But go on, go on ! ” 

For some reason he felt more and more good-humoured. The 
feeling of shock was completely effaced by other emotions. He 
walked up and down the room with rapid steps. 

“ Even though I met you, and though when I set out for 
Petersburg I intendedAaseek you out, yet now, I repeat, I have 



been feeling so broken in spirit . . . and mentally shattered 
ever since March . . 

“ Oh, yes ! shattered since March. . . . Stop a minute. 
Don’t you smoke ? ” 

“ As you know, in old days when Natalya Vassilyevua was 
living I. . . .” 

“ To be sure, to be sure; and since March ? ” 

“ Just a cigarette, perhaps.” 

“ Here is a cigarette. Light it — and go on ! Go on, it’s 
awfully ” 

And, lighting a cigar, Velchaninov quickly settled himself on 
the bed again. 

Pavel Pavlovitch paused. 

‘ But how excited vou are youfself . Are you quite in good 
health?” 

“ Oh, damn my health ! ” Velchaninov was suddenly exas- 
perated. “ Continue ! ” . 

The visitor, for nis part, looking at his companion’s agitation, 
seemed better pleased and grew more self-confident. 

“ But what is there to continue ?” he began again. “ Imagine, 
Alexey Ivanovitch, in the first* pb^ce, a man destroyed — that is, 
not simply destroyed, but fundamentally, so to say; a man 
whose existence is transformed after twenty years of married 
life, wandering about the streets with no consistent object, as 
though in a wilderness, almost in a state of oblivion, and finding 
a certain fascination in that oblivion. It is natural that some- 
times, when I meet an acquaintance, even a real friend I purposely 
go out of my way to avoid approaching him, at such a moment 
of oblivion, I mean. And at another moment one remembers 
everything so, and so longs to see any one who has witnessed 
tha^ recent past, gone now never to return, and has taken part 
in it, and one’s heart beats so violently that one is ready to risk 
throwing oneself upon a friend by night as well as by day, even 
though one might have to wake him up at four o’clock in the 
morning on purpose. ... I have made a mistake about the 
time only, not about our friendship; for this moment more 
than makes up for it. And as for the time, I really thought it 
was only twelve, feeling as I do. One drinks the cup of one’s 
sorrow till one is drunk with it. And it’s not sorrow, indeed, 
but the novelty of my state that crushes me. . . .” 

“ How strangely you express yourself ? Velchaninov observed 
gloomily, beooming extremely grave again. 

21 



“ Yes, I do express myself strangely . . .” 

“ And you’re . . . not joking ? ” 

“Joking!” exclaimed Pavel Pavlovitch in pained surprise, 
“ and at the moment when 1 am announcing the sad ...” 

“ Ach, don’t speak of that, 1 entreat you ! ” 

Velchaninov got up and began pacing the room again. 

So passed five minutes. The visitor seemed about to get up 
too, but Velchaninov shouted : “Sit still, sit still ! ” and Pavel 
Pavlovitch obediently sank back into his armchair at once. 

“ But, how you have changed though,” Velchaninov began 
again, suddenly stopping before him as though all at once 
struck by the thought. “You’re dreadfully changed! Extra- 
ordinarily ! Quite a different person.” 

“ That’s not strange : nine years.” 

“No, no, no, it’s not a question of years! It’s incredible 
how you’ve changed in appearance ; y<5u’ve become a different 
man ! ” 

“ That, too, may well be, in nine years.” 

“ Or is it since March ! ” 

“ He — he ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch sniggered slily. “ That’s a 
funny idea of yours. . . . But if I may venture — what is the 
change exactly ? ” 

“ You ask what ! The Pavel Pavlovitch I used to know was 
such a solid, decorous person, that Pavel Pavlovitch was such 
a clever chap, and now — this Pavel Pavlovitch is a regular 
vaurien / ” 

He was at that stage of irritability in which feven reserved 
people say more than they ought. 

“ Vaurien ! you think so ? And not a clever chap now — 
not clevef?” Pavel Pavlovitch chuckled with relish. 

“ Clever chap be damned ! now I daresay you really are 
too clever.” 

“ I’m insolent, but this low fellow’s more so and . . . and 
what is his object ? ” Velchaninov was thinking all the while. 

“ Ach, dearest, most precious friend ! ” cried the visitor 
suddenly, growing extremely agitated and turning round in 
his chair. “ What are we saying ? We are not in the world 
now, we’re not in the society of the great and the worldly! 
We’re two old friends, very old friends ! And we’ve come 
together in the fullest sincerity to recall to one another the 
priceless bond of friendship of which the dear departed was 
the precious link ! ,# 


22 



And he was so carried away by the ecstasy of his feeling 
that he bowed his head as before, hiding his face in his hat. 
Velchaninov watched him with aversion and uneasiness. 

“ What if he's simply a buffoon," flashed through 'his mind; 
“ but n-110, n-no ! I don’t think he’s drunk — he may be drunk, 
though : his face is red. Even if he were drunk — it comes 
to the same thing. What’s he driving at ? What does the low 
fellow want ? ’’ 

“ Do you remember, do you remember," cried Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch, removing the hat a little and seeming more and more 
carried away by his reminiscences, “ do you remember our 
expeditions into the country, our evenings and little parties 
with dancing and innocent games at the house of his Excellency, 
our most hospitable Semyon Semyonovitoh ? And how we used 
to read together, the three of us, in the evening ! And our first 
acquaintance with you, when you called on me that morning to 
make inquiries about your business, and even began to speak 
rather warmly, and suddenly Natalya Vassilycvna came in, 
and within ten minutes you had become a real friend of the family 
and so you were for a whole year, exactly as in Turgenev’s play, 
A Provincial Lady.” 

Velchaninov paced slowly up and down, looked at the floor, 
listened with impatience and repulsion, but — listened intently. 

“ The thought of A Provincial Lady never entered my head," 
he interrupted, somewhat confused, “ and you never used to talk 
in such a shrill voice and such . . . unnatural language. What 
is that for ? " 

“ I certainly used to be more silent — that is, I was more re- 
served," Pavel Pavloviteh interposed hurriedly. “ You know 
I used to prefer listening while the dear departed talked. You 
remember how she used to talk, how wittily. . . . And in regard 
to A Provincial Lady and Stupendyev particularly, you are 
quite right, for I remember it was we ourselves, the precious 
departed and I, used to speak of that at quiet moments after 
you’d gone av r ay — comparing our first meeting with that 
drama, for there really was a resemblance. About Stupendyev 
especially." 

“ What Stupendyev ? Damn him ! " cried Velchaninov, and 
he actually stamped, utterly disconcerted at the mention of 
“ Stupendyev," owing to a disturbing recollection that was 
evoked by the name. 

“Stupendyev is a character, a character in a play, the husband 

23 



in A Provincial Lady” Pavel Pavlovitch piped in a voice 
of honeyed sweetness ; “ but it belonged to a different series of 
our precious and happy memories, when after your departure 
Stepan Mihalovitch Bagautov bestowed his friendship on us, 
exactly as you did, for five whole years.’’ 

“ Bagautov ? What do you mean ? What Bagautov ? ” 
Velchaninov stood still as though petrified. 

“ Bagautov, Stepan Mihalovitch, who bestowed his friendship 
on us, a year after you and . . . and exactly as you did.” 

“ Good heavens, yes ! I know that ! ” cried Velchaninov, 
recovering himself at last. “ Bagautov ! Why, of course, he 
had a berth in your town. . . .” 

“ He had, he had ! At the Governor’s 1 From Petersburg. 
A very elegant young man, belonging to the best society ! ” 
Pavel Pavlovitch exclaimed in a positive ecstasy. 

“Yes, yes, yes! What was I thinking off Why, he, 
too ” 

“He too, he too/VPavel Pavlovitch repeated in the same 
ecstasy, catching up the jvord his companion had incautiously 
dropped. “ He too ! Well, we acted A Provincial Lady 
at his Excellency’s, our most hospitable Semyon Semyonovitch’s 
private theatre—Stepan Mffeblovitch was the ‘count,’ I was 
the ‘ husband,’ and the dear departed was ‘ The Provincial 
Lady ’ — only they took away the ‘ husband’s ’ part from me, 
Natalya Vassilyevna insisted on it, so that I did not act the 
* husband ’ because I was not fitted for the part, . . .” 

“ How the devil could you be Stupendyev ? you’re pre- 
eminently Pavel Pavlovitch Trusotsky and not Stupendyev,’’ 
said Velchaninov, speaking with coarse rudeness and almost 
trembling with irritation. “Only, excuse me; Bagautov’s in 
Petersburg, I saw him myself in the spring l Why don’t you 
go and see him too ? ” 

“ I have been every blessed day, for the last fortnight. I’m 
not admitted ! He’s ill, he can’t see me ! and, only fancy, I’ve 
found out from first-hand sources that he really is very dan- 
gerously ill ! The friend of six years. Ach, Alexey Ivanovitch, 

I tell you and I repeat it, that sometimes one’s feelings are such 
that one longs to sink into the earth; yes, really; at another 
moment one feels as though one could embrace any one of those 
who have been, so to say, witnesses and participators of the past 
and simply that one may weep, absolutely for nothing else but 
that one may weep. ...” 


24 



44 Well, anyway, I’ve had enough of you for to-day, haven’t 
I ? ” Velchaninov brought out abruptly. 

44 More than enough, more ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch got up from 
his seat at once. 44 It’s four o’clock and, what’s worse, I have so 
selfishly upset you. . . .” 

44 Listen, I will be sure to come and see you myself, and then, 
I hope. . . Tell me straight out, tell me frankly, you are not 
drunk to-day 1 ” 

“ Drunk ! Not a bit of it. . . .” 

44 Hadn’t you been drinking, just before you came, or earlier ? ” 

14 Do you know, Alexey Ivanovitch, you’re in a regular fever.” 

44 I’ll come and see you to-morrow morning before one o’clock.” 

44 And I’ve been noticing for a long time that you seem, as 
it were, delirious,” Pavel Pavlovitch interrupted with zest, still 
harping on the same subject. 44 1 feel conscience-stricken, really, 
that by my awkwardness . . . but I’m going, I’m going ! And 
you lie down and get some sleepy! ” 

44 Why, you haven’t told me whCroyo^fe living ? ” Velchaninov 
called hastily after him. 

44 Didn’t I tell you ? At the Pokrovsky Hotel.’ - 

44 What Pokrovsky Hotel ? ” 

44 Why, close to the Pokro vsky^urch , close by, in the side 
street. I’ve forgotten the name of the Street and I’ve forgotten 
the number, only it’s close by the Pokrovsky Church.” 

44 1 shall find it ! ” 

44 You’ll be very welcome.” 

He was by now on his way downstairs. 

44 Stay,” Velchaninov shouted after him again; 44 you are not 
going to give me the slip ? ” 

44 How do you mean, give you the slip ? ” cried Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch, staring at him open-eyed and turning round to smile 
on the third step. 

Instead of answering, Velchaninov shut the door with a loud 
slam, carefully locked it and fastened the hook. Returning 
to the room, he spat as though he had been in contact with 
something unclean. 

After standing for some five minutes in the middle of the room, 
he flung himself on the bed without undressing and in one 
minute fell asleep. The forgotten candle burnt itself out on the 
table. 


25 



CHAPTER IV 

TIIE WIFI, THE HUSBAND AND THE LOVER 

He slept very soundly and woke up at half -past nine ; he re- 
membered everything instantly, sat down on his bed and 
began at once thinking of “ that woman’s death.” The shock of 
the sudden news of that death the night before had left a certain 
agitation and even pain. That pain and agitation had only for 
a time been smothered by a strange idea while Pavel Pavlovitch 
was with him. 

But now, on waking up, all that had happened nine years before- 
rose before his mind with extraordinary vividness. 

This woman, this Natalya Vassilyevna, the wife of “ that 
Trusotsky,” he had once loved, and he had been her lover for 

the whole year that he had spent at T , ostensibly on business 

of his own (that, too, was a lawsuit over a disputed inheritance), 
although his presence had not really been necessary for so long. 
The real cause of his remaining was this intrigue. The liaison 
and his love had such complete possession of him that it was as 
though he were in bondage to Natalya Vassilyevna, and he would 
probably have been ready on the spot to do anything, however 
monstrous and senseless, to satisfy that woman’s slightest 
caprice. 

He had never felt anything of the sort before. At the end 
of the year, when separation was inevitable, although it was 
expected to be only a brief one, Velchaninov was in such despair, 
as the fatal time drew near, that he proposed to Natalya Vassil- 
yevna that she should elope with him, that he should carry her 
off from her husband, that they should throw up everything and 
that she should come abroad with him for ever. Nothing but 
the gibes and firm determination of the lady (who had, probably 
from boredom, or to amuse herself, quite approved of the project 
at first) could have dissuaded him and forced him to go alone. 
And actually, before two months had passed, he was asking 
himself in Petersburg the question which had always remained 
unanswered. Had he really loved that woman or had it been 
nothing but an “ infatuation ” ? And it was not levity or the 
influence of some new passion that had given rise to this question 5 
for those first two months in Petersburg he had been plunged in 
a sort of stupefaction and had scarcely noticed any woman, 

26 



although he had at once mixed with his former acquaintances 
again and had seen a hundred women. At the same time he 

knew that if he were transported that moment to T he would 

promptly fall under the yoke of that woman’s fascination again, 
in spite of any questions. Even five years later his conviction 
was unchanged. But five years later he used to admit this to 
himself with indignation and he even thought of “ that woman ** 

herself with hatred. Ho was ashamed of that year at T ; ho 

could not even understand how such a “ stupid ’* passion could 
have been possible for him, Velchaninov. All his memories of 
that passion had become absurd to him ; and he blushed to the 
point of tears and was tormented by conscience -pricks at the 
thought of it. It is true that a few years later he had become 
somewhat calmer ; he tried to forget it all — and almost succeeded. 
And now, all at once, nine years afterwards, all this had so 
suddenly and strangely risen up before him again, after hearing 
that night of the death of Natalya Vaasilyevna. 

Now, sitting on his bed, with confused thoughts crowding in 
disorder on his mind, ho felt and realized clearly one thing only — 
that in spite of the “ shock ’* he had felt at the news, he was 
nevertheless quite undisturbed by fact of her death. “ Can 
it be that I have no feeling for h et f ’ 9 he asked himself. It is 
true that he had now no feeling of hatred for her, and that 
he could criticize her more impartially, more fairly. In the 
course of those nine years of separation he had long since for- 
mulated the view that Natalya Vassilyevna belonged to the class 
of absolutely ordinary provincial ladies moving in good provincial 
society “ and, who knows ? perhaps she really was such, perhaps 
it was only I who idealized her so fantastically/* He had 
always suspected, however, that there might be an error in that 
view; and he felt it even now. And, indeed, the facts were 
opposed to it; this Bagautov, too, had for several years been 
connected with her and apparently lie, too, had been “ under 
the yoke of her fascination/* Bagautov certainly was a young 
man belonging to the best Petersburg society and, as ho was a 
most “ empty-headed fellow,** he could only have had success- 
ful career in Petersburg (Velchaninov used to say of him). Yet he 
had neglected Petersburg — that is, sacrificed his most impor ant 
interests — and remained for five years in T — — solely on account 
of that woman ! Yes, and ho had finally returned to Petersburg, 
perhaps only because he, too, had been cast off like “ an old, 
worn-out shoe/* So there must have been in that woman 

27 



something exceptional— a power of attracting, of enslaving, of 
dominating. 

And yet one would have thought that she had not the gifts 
with which to attract and to enslave . She was not exactly 
pretty ; perhaps she was actually plain . She was twenty-eight 
when Velchaninov first knew her. Though not altogether 
beautiful, her face was sometimes charmingly animated, but 
her eyes were not pretty : there was something like an excess of 
determination in them. She was very thin. On the intel- 
lectual side she had not been well educated ; her keen intelligence 
was unmistakable, though she was one-sided in her ideas. Her 
manners were those of a provincial lady and at the same time, 
it is true, she had a great deal of tact; she had artistic taste, 
but showed it principally in knowing how to dress. In character 
she was resolute and domineering; she could never make up 
her mind to compromise in anything : it was all, or nothing. 
In difficult positions her firmness and stoicism were amazing. 
She was capable of generosity and at the same time would be . 
utterly unjust. To argue with that lady was impossible : “ twice 
two makes four” meant nothing to her. She never thought 
herself wrong or to blame ii^anything. Her continual deception 
of her husband and the perfidies beyond number which she 
practised upon him did not weigh on her in the least. But, to 
quote Velchaninov’s own comparison, she was like the “ Madonna 
of the Flagellants,” who believes implicitly herself that she is 
the mother of God — so Natalya Vassilyevna believed implicitly 
in everything she did. She was faithful to her lover, but only as 
long as he did not bore her. She was fond of tormenting her 
lover, but.she liked making up for it too . She was of a passionate, 
cruel and sensual type. She hated depravity and condemned 
it with exaggerated severity and— was herself depraved. No 
sort of fact could have made her recognize her own depravity. 

" Most likely she genuinely does not know it,” Velchaninov 

thought about her even before he left T . (We may remark, 

by the way, that he was the accomplice of her depravity.) “ She 
is one of those women who are born to be unfaithful wives. 
Such women never become old maids; it’s a law of their 
nature to be married to that end The husband is the first 
lover but never till after the wedding. No one gets married 
more adroitly and easily than this type of woman. For her 
first infidelity the husband is always to blame. And it is 
all accompanied by the most perfect sincerity : to the end 

28 



they feel themselves absolutely right and, of course, entirely 
innocent.” 

Velchaninov was convinced that there really was such a type 
of woman; but, on the other hand, he was also convinced 
that there was a type of husband corresponding to that 
woman, whose sole vocation was to correspond with thdt 
feminine type. To his mind, the essence of such a husband 
lay in his being, so to say, “ the eternal husband,” or rather 
in being, all his life, a husband and nothing more. “ Such a 
man is bom and grows up only to be a husband, and, having 
married, is promptly transformed into a supplement of his wife, 
even when he happens to have unmistakable character of his 
own. The chief sign of such a husband is a certain decoration. 
He can no more escape wearing horns than the sun can help 
shining ; he is not only unaware of the fact, but is bound by the 
very laws of his nature to be unaware of it.” Velchaninov 
firmly believed in the existence of thesetWo types and in Pavel 
PavJovitch Trusotsky's being a perfect representative of one 
of them. The Pavel Pavlovitch of the previous night was, of 
course, very different from the Pavel Pavlovitch he had known 

at T . He found him incrediMj{'<&hanged , but Velchaninov 

knew that he was bound to have cfiahged and that all that was 
perfectly natural; Trusotsky could only as long as his wife 
was alive have remained all that he used to be, but, as it was, he 
was only a fraction of a whole, suddenly cut off and set free, 
that is something wonderful and unique. 

As for the Pavel Pavlovitch of the past at T , this is how 

Velchaninov remembered him and recalled him now. 

“ Of course, at T , Pavel Pavlovitch had been simply a 

husband,” and nothing more. If he were, for instance, an official 
in the service as well, it was solely because such a position was one 
of the obligations of his married life ; he was in the service for the 

sake of his wife and her social position in T- , though he was in 

himself zealous in his duties. He was thirty -five then and was 
possessed of some little fortune. He showed no special ability 
in his department and showed no special lack of it either. He 
used to mix with all the best people in the province and was said 
to be on an excellent footing with them. Natalya Vassilyevna was 
deeply respected in T ; she did not, however, greatly appre- 

ciate that, accepting it as simply her due, but in her own house 
she was superb at entertaining guests, and Pavel Pavlovitch 
had been so well trained by her that he was able to behave with 

29 



dignity even ■when entertaining the highest magnates of the 
province. Perhaps (it seemed to Velchaninov) he had intelli- 
gence too, but as Natalya Vassilyevna did not like her spouse 
to talk too much, his intelligence was not very noticeable. 
Perhaps he had many natural good qualities, as well as bad 
ones. But his good qualities were kept under a shade, as it 
were, and his evil propensities were almost completely stifled. 
Velchaninov remembered, for instance, that Pavel Pavlovitch 
sometimes betrayed a disposition to laugh at his neighbours, 
but this was sternly forbidden him. He was fond, too, at times 
of telling anecdotes; but a watch was kept on that weakness 
too : and he was only allowed to tell such as were brief and 
of little importance. He had a weakness for a festive glass 
outside the house and was even capable of drinking too much 
with a friend ; but this failing had been severely nipped in the 
bud. And it is noteworthy that no outside observer would have 
said that Pavel Pavlovitch was a hen-pecked husband ; Natalya 
Vassilyevna seemed an absolutely obedient wife, and most likely- 
believed herself to be one. It was possible tnat Pavel Pavlovitch 
loved Natalya Vassilyevna passionately ; but no one noticed it, 
and, indeed, it was impossible to notice it, and this reserve was 
probably due to her domestic discipline. Several times during 

his life at T Velchaninov had asked himself whether the 

husband had any suspicion at all of his wife's intrigue. Several 
times he questioned Natalya Vassilyevna seriously about it, and 
always received the answer, uttered with a certain annoyance, 
that her husband knew nothing and never could know anything 
about it and that “ it was no concern of his.” Another 
characteristic of hers was that she never laughed at Pavel 
Pavlovitch and did not consider him absurd or very plain and 
would, indeed, have taken his part very warmly if any one had 
dared to show him incivility. Having no children, she was 
naturally bound to become a society woman, but her home 
life, too, was essential to her. Social pleasures never had com- 
plete sway of her, and at home she was very fond of needle- 
work and looking after the house. Pavel Pavlovitch had re- 
called, that night, the evenings they had spent in reading; it 
happened that sometimes Velchaninov read aloud and sometimes 
Pavel Pavlovitch : to Velchaninov’s surprise he read aloud ex- 
cellently. Meanwhile, Natalya Vassilyevna did sewing as she 
listened, always calmly and serenely. They read a novel of 
Dickens, something from a Russian magazine, sometimes even 

30 



something “ serious.” Natalya Vassilyevna highly appreciated 
Velchaninov’s culture, but appreciated it in silence, as something 
final and established, of which there was no need to talk. Alto- 
gether, her attitude to everything intellectual and literary was 
rather one of indifference, as to something irrelevant though 
perhaps useful. Pavel Pavlovitch sometimes showed consider- 
able warmth on the subject. 

The liaison at T was broken suddenly when on Vel- 

chaninov’s side it had reached its zenith — that is, almost the 
point of madness. In reality he was abruptly dismissed, though 
it was all so arranged that he went away without grasping that 
he had been cast off “ like a worthless old shoe.” 

Six weeks before his departure, a young artillery officer who 

had just finished at the training college arrived in T« and took 

to visiting the Trusotsky’s. Instead of three, they were now a 
party of four. Natalya Vassilyevna welcomed the boy graciously 
but treated him as a boy. No suspicion crossed Velchaninov’s 
mind and indeed he had no thought to spare for it, for he had 
just been told that separation was inevitable. One of the 
hundreds of reasons urged by Natalya Vassilyevna for his 
leaving her as soon as possible that she believed herself to 
be with child : and therefore, naturally, he must disappear at 
once for three or four months at least, so that it would not be 
so easy for her husband to feel any doubt if there were any 
kind of gossip afterwards. It was rather a far-fetched argument. 
After a stormy proposition on the part of Velehaninov that she 
should fly with him to Paris or America, he departed alone to 
Petersburg, “ only for a brief moment, of course,” that is, for 
no more than three months, or nothing would have induced 
him to go, in spite of any reason or argument Exactly two 
months later he received in Petersburg a letter from Natalya 
Vassilyevna asking him never to return, as she already loved 
another; she informed him that. she had been mistaken about 
her condition. This information was superfluous. It was all 
clear to him now : he remembered the young officer. With 
that it was all over for good. He chanced to hear afterwards, 
some years later, that Bagautov had appeared on the scene and 
spent five whole years there. Ho explained the dispropor- 
tionate duration of that affair partly by the fact that Natalya 
Vassilyevna, by now, was a good deal older, and so more constant 
in her attachments. 

He remained sitting on his bed for nearly an hour; at last 

3i 



he roused himself, rang for Mavra to bring his coffee, drank it 
hastily, and at eleven o’clock set out to look for the Pokrovsky 
Hotel. In going there he had a special idea which had only 
come to him in the morning. He felt somewhat ashamed of 
his behaviour to Pavel Pavlovitch the night before and now 
he wanted to efface the impression. 

The whole fantastic business with the door handle, the night 
before, he now put down to chance, to the tipsy condition of 
Pavel Pavlovitch and perhaps to something else, but he did riot 
really know, exaotly, why he was going now to form new relations 
with the former husband, when everything had so naturally 
and of its own accord ended between them. Something at- 
tracted him. He had received a peculiar impression and he 
was attracted in consequence of it. 


CHAPTER V 

LIZA 

Pavel Pavlovitch had no idea of “ giving him the slip,” and 
goodness knows why Velchaninov had asked him the question 
the night before ; he was, indeed, at a loss to explain it himself. 
At his first inquiry at a little shop near the Pokrovsky Church, 
he was directed to the hotel in the side street a couple of paces 
away. At the hotel, it was explained that M. Trusotsky^as 
staying in the lodge close by in the courtyard, in furnished 
rooms at Marya Sysoevna’s. Going up the narrow, wet and very 
dirty stone stairs, to the second storey, where these rooms were 
he suddenly heard the sound of crying. It seemed like the 
crying of a child of seven or eight ; the sound was distress^ ; 
he heard smothered sobs which would break out and with thpm 
the stamping of feet and shouts of fury, which were smothered, 
too, in a hoarse falsetto voice, evidently that of a grown-Sp 
man. This man seemed to be trying to suppress the cri^i 
and to be very anxious that her crying should not be h fra, 
but was making more noise than she was. The shouts sounded 
pitiless, and the child seemed to be begging forgiveness.^ 
a small passage at the top, with doors on both sides of* it 
Velchaninov met a tall, stout, slovenly-looking peasant womi 
of forty and asked for Pavel Pavlovitch. She pointed towari 
the door from which the sounds were coming. There was 

32 



look of some indignation on the fat, purple face of this 
roman. 

" You see how he amuses himself I ” she said gruffly and 
went downstairs. 

Velchaninov was just about to knock at the door, but on 
second thoughts he walked straight in. In a small room, roughly 
though amply furnished with common painted furniture, stood 
Pavel Pavlovitch without his coat and waistcoat. With a 
flushed and exasperated face he was trying, by means of shouts, 
gesticulations and eVen (Velchaninov fancied) kicks, to silence a 
little girl of eight, shabbily dressed in a short, black, woollen 
frock. She seemed to be actually in hysterics, she gasped 
hysterically and held out her hands to Pavel Pavlovitch as 
though she wanted to clutch at him, to hug him, to beseech 
and implore him about something. In one instant the whole 
scene was transformed : seeing the visitor, the child cried out 
and dashed away into a tiny room adjoining, and Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch, for a moment disconcerted, instantly melted into smiles, 
exactly as he had done the night before, when Velchaninov 
flung open the door upon him on the stairs. 

“ Alexey Ivanovitch ! ” he cried, in genuine surprise. “ I 
could never have expected . . . but come in, come in ! Here, 
on the sofa, or here in the armchair, while I . . 

And he rushed to put on his coat, forgetting to put on his 
waistcoat. 

Stay as you are, don’t stand on ceremony.” 

•dchaninov sat down in the chair. 

• No, allow me to stand on ceremony ; here, now I am more 
respectable. But why are you sitting in the corner ? Sit here 
in the armchair, by the table. . . . Well, I didn’t expect you, 
I didn’t expect you ! ” 

. le, too, sat down on the edge of a rush-bottomed chair, not 
beside his “ unexpected ” visitor, but setting his chair at an 
ar'de so as to sit more nearly facing him. 

' Why didn’t you expect me \ Why, I told you last night 
th I would come at this time.” 

“ ‘ thought you wouldn’t come; and when I reflected on all 
that Happened yesterday, on waking this morning, I despaired 
of eror seeing you again.” 

Meanwhile Velchaninov was looking about him. The room 
[Was in disorder, the bed was not made, clothes were lying about, 
on the table were glasses with dregs of coffee in thorn, crumbs 



and a bottle of champagne, half full, with the cork out and a 
glass beside it. Hefciolea glance towards the next room, but 
there all was quiet; the ohild was in hiding and perfectly 
still. 

“ Surely you are not drinking that now said Velchaninov, 
indicating the champagne. 

“ The remains . . .” said Pavel Pavlovitch in confusion. 

“ Well, you have changed ! ” 

“Its a bad habit, come upon me all at once; yes, really, 
since that date. I’m not lying ! I can’t restrain myself. Don’t 
be uneasy, Alexey Ivanovitch. I’m not drunk now, and I’m 
not going to play the fool now as I did at your flat yesterday ; 
but I’m telling the truth, it’s all since then ! And if any one 
had told me six months ago that I should break down like this, 
if I’d been shown myself in the looking-glass — I shouldn’t have 
believed it.” 

“ You were drunk last night, then l ” 

“ I was,” Pavel Pavlovitch admitted in a low voice, looking 
down in embarrassment. “ And you see I wasn’t exactly drunk 
then, but I had been a little before. I want to explain, 
because I’m always worse a little while after. If I get ever so 
little tipsy, it is followed by a sort of violence and foolishness, 
and I feel my grief more intensely too. It’s because of my 
grief, perhaps, I drink. Then I’m capable of playing all sorts of 
pranks and I push myself forward quite stupidly and insult 
people for nothing. I must have presented myself very strangely 
to you yesterday ? ” 

“ Do you mean to say you don’t remember ? ” 

" Not remember ! I remember it all . . .” 

“ You see, Pavel Pavlovitch, that’s just what I thought,” 
Velchaninov said in a conciliatory voice. “ What’s more, I 
was myself rather irritable with you last night and . . . too 
impatient, I readily admit it. I don’t feel quite well at times, 
and then your unexpected arrival last night . . .” 

“ Yes, at night, at night ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch shook his head, 
as though surprised and disapproving. “ And what possessed 
me ! Nothing would have induced me to come in to you if you 
had not opened the door yourself; I should have gone away 
from the door. I came to you a week ago, Alexey Ivanovitch, 
and you were not at home, but perhaps I should never have 
come again. I have some pride, too, Alexey Ivanovitch, 
although I do recognize the position I am in. We met in 

34 



the street, too, and I kept thinking i 4 iWhy, he must recog- 
nize me and yet he turns away; ninerjeSfrs are no joke,’ and I 
couldn’t make up my mind to comaT And last night I had 
wandered from the Petersburg Side and I forgot the time. It 
all came from that ” (he pointed to the bottle), “ and from my 
feelings. It was stupid ! Very ! And if it had been any 
one but you — for you’ve come to see me even after what hap- 
pened yesterday, for the sake of old times — I should have given 
up all hope of renewing our acquaintance ! ” 

Velchaninov listened attentively. The man seemed to him 
to be speaking sincerely and even with a certain dignity; and 
yet he did not believe one word he had heard since he came 
into the room. 

“ Tell me, Pavel Pavlovitch, you are not alone here, then ? 
Whose little girl is that I found with you just now ? ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch was positively amazed and raised his eye- 
brows, but he looked frankly and pleasantly at Velchaninov. 

" Whose little girl ? Why, it’s Liza ! ” he said, with an affable 
smile. 

“ What Liza ? ” muttered Velchaninov, with a sort of inward 
tremor. The shock was too sudden. When he came in and 
saw Liza, just before, he was surprised, but had absolutely no 
presentiment of the truth, and thought nothing particular 
about her. 

“ Yes, our Liza, our daughter Liza ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch 
smiled. 

“ Your daughter ? Do you mean that you and Natalya . . . 
Natalya Vassilyevna had children ? ” Velchaninov asked timidly 
and mistrustfully, in a very low voice. 

“ Why, of course ! But there, upon my word, how should 
you have heard of it ? What am I thinking about ! It was 
after you went away, God blessed us with her ! ” 

Pa^el Pavlovitch positively jumped up from his chair in some 
agitation, though it seemed agreeable too. 

“ I heard nothing about it,” said Velchaninov, and he turned 
pale. 

“ To be sure, to be sure; from whom could you have heard 
it ? ” said Pavel Pavlovitch, in a voice weak with emotion. 
" My poor wife and I had lost all hope, as no doubt you re- 
member, and suddenly God sent us this blessing, and what it 
meant to me — He only knows ! Just a year after you went 
away, I believe. No, not a year, not nearly a year. Wait a 

35 



bit j why, you left m, if my memory does not deceive me, in 
October or November* I believe.” 

“ I left T at tie beginning of September, the twelfth of 

September; I remember it very well.” 

“ In September, was- it ? H’m ! . . . what was I thinking 
about ? ” cried Pavel Pavlovitch, much surprised. " Well, if 
that’s so, let me see : you went away on the twelfth of Sep- 
tember, and Liza was bom on the eighth of May, so — Septem- 
ber — October — November — December — January — February — 
March — April — a little over eight months ! And if you only 
knew how my poor wife . . 

“ Show me . . . call her . . Velchaninov faltered in a 
breaking voice. 

“ Certainly ! ” said Pavel Pavlovitch fussily, at once breaking 
off what he was saying, as though it were of no consequence. 
“ Directly, directly, I’ll introduce her ! ” 

And he went hurriedly into the other room to Lira. 

Fully three or perhaps four minutes passed; there was a 
hurried, rapid whispering in the room, and he just caught the 
sound of Liza’s voice. “ She’s begging not to be brought in,” 
thought Velchaninov* At last they came out. 

“ You see, she’s all confusion,” said Pavel Pavlovitch ; “ she’s 
so shy, and so proud . . . the image of my poor wife ! ” 

Liza came in, looking down and na longer tearful ; her father 
was holding her hand. She was a tall, slim, very pretty little 
girl. She raised her big blue eyes to glance with curiosity at 
the visitor, looked at him sullenly, and dropped them again at 
once. Her eyes were full of that gravity one sees in children, 
when they are left alone with a stranger and, retreating into a 
corner, look out solemnly and mistrustfully at the unfamiliar 
visitor ; but she had, perhaps, some other thought, by no means 
childish, in her mind — so Velchaninov fancied. 

Her father led her straight up to him. 

“ This is an uncle mother used to know long ago ; he was our 
friend. Don’t be shy, hold out your hand.” 

The child bent forward a little, and timidly held out her 
hand. 

“ Natalya Vassilyevna would not have her trained £b curtsey, 
but taught her to make a little bow, and hold out her hand 
in the English fashion,” he added by way of explanation to 
Velchaninov, watching him intently. 

Velchaninov knew that he was being watched, but had quite 

36 



ceased to trouble himself to conceal hit eiMk$on ; he sat perfectly 
still in his chair, held Liza’s hand k I bfraflj gazed at the child. 
But Liza was in great anxiety about something, and, forgetting 
her hand in the visitor’s hand, she kept her eyes fixed on her 
father. She listened apprehensively to all that he said. Vel- 
chaninov recognized those big blue eyes at once, but what struck 
him most of all was the wonderful soft whiteness of her face 
and the colour of her hair ; these characteristics were so marked 
and so significant. Her features and the lines of the lips re- 
minded him vividly of Natalya Vassilyevna. Meanwhile, Pavel 
Pavlovitch had for some time been telling him something, 
speaking, it seemed, with very great warmth and feeling, but 
Velchaninov did not hear him. He only caught the last sentence — 
. . so that you can’t imagine our joy at this gift from the 
Lord, Alexey Ivanovitch ! She became everything to me as 
soon as she came to us, so that I used to think that even if my 
tranquil happiness should, by God’s will, be at an end, Liza 
would always be left me; that I reckoned upon for certain ! ” 

“And Natalya Vassilyevna? ” Velchaninov queried. 

“ Natalya Vassilyevna ? ” said Pavel Pavlovitch affectedly. 
# ‘ You know her way, you remember that she never cared to say a 
great deal, but the way she said good-bye to her on her death- 
bed . . . everything came^ out then ! I said just now ‘ on her 
deathbed,’ but yet only a day before her death she was upset 
and angry, said that they were trying to cure her with drugs, 
that there was nothing wrong with her but an ordinary fever, 
and that neither of our doctors understood it, and that as soon 
as Koch came back (do you remember our old friend the army 
doctor?) she would be up again in a fortnight! But there! 
five hours before her decease she remembered that in three 
weeks’ time we must Visit her aunt, Liza’s godmother, on her 
name-day . . .” 

Velchaninov suddenly got up from his chair, still holding the 
child’s hand. Among other things it struck him that there was 
something reproachful in the intense look the child kept fixed 
upon her father. 

“ She’s not ill ? ” he asked hurriedly and somewhat strangely. 

“ I don’t think so, but . . . our circumstances are here 
so . . said Pavel Pavlovitch, with mournful solicitude. 
“ She’s a strange child and nervous at all times ; after her 
mother’s death she was ill for a fortnight, hysterical. Why, 
what a weeping and wailing wo had just before you came in . . . 

37 



do you hear, Liza, do you hear ? And what was it all about 1 
All because I go out and leave her ; she says it shows I don’t 
love her any more as I used to when mother was alive — that’s 
her complaint against me. And a child like that who ought to 
be playing with her toys, instead of fretting over a fantastic 
notion like that. Though here she has no one to play with.” 

“ Why, how . . . you’re surely not alone here ? ” 

“ Quite alone ; the servant only comes in once a day.” 

" And you go out and leave her like this alone ? ” 

“ What else could Id o ? And when I went out yesterday I 
locked her in, into that little room there , that’s what the tears 
have been about to-day. But what else could I do ? Judge for 
yourself : the day before yesterday she went down when I was 
out, and a boy threw a stone at her in the yard and hit her on 
the head. Or else she begins crying and runs round to all the 
lodgers in the yard, asking where I’ve gone. And that’s not 
nice, you know. And I’m a nice one, too ; I go out for an 
hour and come back next morning; that’s what happened 
yesterday. It was a nice thing, too, that while I was away the 
landlady let her out, sent for a locksmith to break the lock- 
such a disgrace — I literally feel myself a monster. All mental 
aberration, all mental aberration. ...” 

“ Father ! ” the child said timidly and uneasily. 

“ There you are, at it again ! You’re at the same thing 
again. What did I tell you just now ? ” 

“ I won’t, I won’t ! ” Liza repeated in terror, hurriedly clasp- 
ing her hands before him. 

“ You can’t go on like this in these surroundings,” Velchaninov 
said impatiently, in a voice of authority. “ Why, you . . . 
why, you’re a man of property ; how is it you’re living like this 
— in this lodge and in such surroundings ? ” 

** I n the lodge ? But, you see, we may be going away in a 
week’s time, and we’ve wasted a great deal of money already, 
even though I have property. ...” 

“ Come, that’s enough, that’s enough.” Velchaninov cut him 
short with increasing impatience, as it were expressing plainly : 

** There’s no need to talk. I know all that you have to say, 
and I know with what feelings you are speaking.” 

“ Listen, I’ll make a suggestion. You said just now that 
you’ll be staying a week, maybe possibly even a fortnight. I 
know a household here, that is, a family where I’m quite at 
home — have known them twenty years. The father. Alexandr 

38 



1 Pavlovitch Pogoryeltsev, is a Privy Councillor; he might be 
of use to you in your business. They are at their summer villa 
now. They’ve got a splendid villa. Klavdia Petrovna is like 
a sister to me or a mother. They have eight children. Let 
me take Liza to them at once . . . that we may lose no time. 
They will be delighted to take her in for the whole time you 
are here, and will treat her like their own child, their own 
child ! ” 

He was terribly impatient and did not disguise it. 

“ That's scarcely possible/' said Pavel Pavlovitch, with a 
grimace, looking , so Velchaninov fancied, slily in his face. 

“ Why, why impossible ? " 

“ Why, how can I let the child go so suddenly — with such a 
•eal friend as you, of course — I don't mean, but into a house 
>f strangers, and of such high rank, where I don't know how 
he’d be received either ? ” 

“ But I've told you that I'm like one of the family ! " cried 
Velchaninov, almost wrathfully. “ Klavdia Petrovna will be 
lelighted to take her at a word from me — as though it were 
ny child. Damn it all ! Why, you know yourself that you 
>nly say all this for the Bake of saying something . . . there's 
lothing to discuss ! " 

He positively stamped his foot. 

" I only mean, won’t it seem strange ? I should have to go 
ind see her once or twice anyway, or she would be left without 
i father ! He — he ! . . . and in such a grand household." 

“ But it’s the simplest household, not 4 grand ' at all ! " 
ihouted Velchaninov. “ I tell you there are a lot of children. 
She’ll revive there, that’s the whole object. . . . And I'll intro- 
luce you myself to-morrow, if you like. And of course you 
would have to go to thank them ; we’ll drive over every day, 
if you like.” 

“ It's all so ” 

"Nonsense! And, what's more, you know that yourself! 
Listen. Come to me this evening, and stay the night, perhaps, 
and we’ll set off early in the morning so as to get there at 
twelve.” 

“ My benefactor ! And even to stay the night with you . . .” 
Pavel Pavlovitch agreed suddenly in a tone of fervent feeling. 
“ You are doing me a charity literally. . . . Where is their 
villa?" 

“ Their villa is in Lyosnoe.” 


39 



“ Only, I say, what about her dress ? For, you know, in such 
a distinguished household and in their summer villa, too, you 
know yourself ... a father’s heart . . .” 

“ What about her dress ? She’s in mourning. She oouldn’t 
be dressed differently, could she? It’s the most suitable one 
could possibly imagine 1 The only thing is she ought to have 
clean linen ... a clean tucker . . .” 

Her tucker and what showed of her underlinen were, in fact, 
very dirty. 

“ She must change her things at once,” said Pavel Pavloviteh 
fussily, “ and we'll get together the rest of what she needs in 
the way of underclothes ; Marya Sysoevna has got them in the 
wash.” 

“ Then you should tell them to fetch a carriage,” Velchaninov 
interposed ; “ and make haste if you can.” 

But a difficulty presented itself : Liza resolutely opposed it ; 
she had been listening all the time in terror, and, if Velchaninov 
had had time to look at her attentively while he was persuading 
Pavel Pavloviteh, he would have seen a look of utter despair 
upon her little face. 

“ I am not going,” she said firmly, in a low voice. 

“ There, there ! You see, she’s her mother over again.” 

“ I’m not my mother over again, I’m not my mother over 
again ! ” cried Liza in despair, wringing her little hands, and as 
it were trying to defend herself before her father from the awful 
reproach of being like her mother. “ Father, father, if you 
leave me . . .” 

She, suddenly turned on Velchaninov , who was in dismay. 

“ If you take me I’ll ...” 

But before she had time to say more, Pavel Pavloviteh clutched 
her by the arm and with undisguised exasperation dragged her 
almost by the collar into the little room. Whispering followed 
for some minutes; there was the sound of suppressed crying. 
Velchaninov was on the point of going in himself, but Pavel 
Pavloviteh came out and with a wry smile announced that she 
was coming directly. Velchaninov tried not to look at him and 
kept his eyes turned away. 

Marya Sysoevna appeared. She was the same peasant woman 
that he had met just before in the passage ; she began packing 
the linen she had brought with her in a pretty little bag belonging 
to Liza. 

“ Are you taking the little girl away then, sir ? ” she asked, 

40 



addressing Velchaninov. “ Have you a family, then ? It’s a 
good deed, sir : she’s a quiet ohild ; .you are taking her from a 
perfect Bedlam.” 

“ Come, come, Marya Sysoevna ! ” muttered Pavel Pavlovitch. 

“ Marya Sysoevna, indeed ! That’s my name, right enough. 
It is a Bedlam here, isn’t it ? Is it the proper thing for a child 
that can understand to Bee such disgraceful goings on ? They’ve 
fetched you a carriage, sir — to Lyesnoe, is it ? ” 

“ Yes, yes.” 

“ Well, it’s a blessing you came ! ” 

Liza came out pale and, looking down, took her bag. Not 
one glance in Velchaninov’s direction; she restrained herself 
and did not, as before, rush to embrace her father, even at part- 
ing; evidently she was unwilling to look at him either. Her 
father kissed her decorously on the head and patted it; her 
lips twitched as he did so and her little chin quivered, but still 
she did not raise her eyes to her father. Pavel Pavlovitch 
looked pale, and his hands were trembling — Velchaninov noticed 
that distinctly, though he was doing his utmost not to look at 
him. The one thing he longed for was to get away as quickly 
as possible. 

“ After all, it’s not my fault,” he thought. " It was bound 
to be so.” 

They went downstairs; there Marya Sysoevna kissed Liza 
good-bye, and only when she was sitting in the carriage Liza 
lifted her eyes to her father, flung up her hands and screamed ; 
another minute and she would have flung herself out of the 
carriage to him, but the horses had started. 


CHAPTER VI 

A NEW FANCY OF AN IDLE MAN 

<4 Abe you feeling ill ? ” asked Velchaninov in alarm. “ I will 
tell them to stop, I’ll tell them to bring water. . . .” 

She turned her eyes upon him and looked at him passionately, 
reproachfully 

“ Where are you taking me?” she asked sharply and 
abruptly. 

“ It’s a very nice family, Liza. They’re in a delightful 
summer villa now ; there are a lot of children ; they’ll love you ; 

41 



they are kind. Ddl^fc bf angry with me, Liza; I only wish 
for your good.” 

How strange it would have seemed to all who knew him if 
any one could have seen him at that moment. 

“ How — how — how . . , how horrid you are ! ” said Liza, 
choking with stifled tears, glaring at him with her beautiful 
eyes full of anger. 

“ Liza, I . . .” 

“ You are wicked, wicked, wicked, wicked ! ” 

She wrung her hands. Velchaninov was completely at a 
loss. 

“ Liza, darling, if you knew how despairing you make me ! ” 

“ Is it true that he will come to-morrow ? Is it true 1 ” she 
asked peremptorily. 

” Yes, yes, I’ll bring him myself; I’ll take him with me and 
bring him.” 

“ He’ll deceive me,” she whispered, looking down. 

“ Doesn’t he love you, Liza ? ” 

" He doesn’t love me.” 

“ Does he ill-treat you ? Does he ? ” 

Liza looked at him gloomily and was mute. She turned 
away from him again and sat with her eyes obstinately cast 
down. He began trying to coax her ; he talked to her warmly, 
he was in a perfect fever. Liza listened with mistrust and hos- 
tility, but she did listen. Her attention delighted him extremely ; 
he even began explaining to her what was meant by a man’s 
drinking. He told her that he loved her himself and would 
look after her father. Liza lifted her eyes at last and looked at 
him intently. He began telling her how he used to know her 
mother and he saw that what he told her interested her. Little 
by little she began answering his questions, though cautiously 
and in monosyllables. She still stubbornly refused to answer 
his leading questions; she remained obstinately silent about 
everything to do with her relations with her father in the past. 
As he talked to her, Velchaninov took her hand in his as before 
and held it ; she did not pull it away. The child was not silent 
all the time, however ; she let out in her confused answers that 
she loved her father more than her mother, because he had 
always been fonder of her, and her mother had not cared so 
much for her, but that when her mother was dying she had 
kissed her and cried a great deal when every one had gone out 
of the room and they were left alone . . . and that now she 

42 



loved her more than any one, more Hian any one, more than 
any one in the world, and every night she loved her more than 
any one. But the child was certainly proud. Realizing that 
she had spoken too freely, she suddenly shrank into herself 
again and glanced with positive hatred at Velchaninov, who had 
led her into saying so much. Towards the end of the journey 
her hysterical agitation almost passed off, but she sank into 
brooding and had the look of a wild creature, sullen and gloomily, 
resolutely stubborn. The fact that she was being taken to a 
strange family, in which she had never been before, seemed for 
the time being not to trouble her much. What tormented her 
was something else. 

Velchaninov saw that; he guessed that she was ashamed 
before him, that she was ashamed of her father’s having so 
easily let her go with him, of his having, as it were, flung her 
into his keeping. 

“ She is ill,” he thought, " perhaps very ill ; she's been worried 
to death. . . . Oh, the drunken, abject beast ! I understand 
him now ! ” 

He urged on the driver; he rested his hopes on the country, 
the fresh air, the garden, the children, and the new, unfamiliar 
life, and then, later on . . . But of what would come after- 
wards he had no doubts at all ; of the future he had the fullest, 
brightest hopes. One thing only he knew for certain : that he 
had never before felt what he was experiencing now and that 
it would never leave him all his life. 

“ Here was an object, here was life ! ” he thought triumphantly. 

A great many thoughts flashed upon his mind, but he did 
not dwell upon them and obstinately put away details ; so long 
as he avoided details it all seemed clear and unassailable. His 
plan of action was self-evident. 

“ It will bo possible to work upon that wretch,” he mused, 
11 by our united forces, and he will leave Liza in Petersburg at 
the Pogoryeltsevs’, though at first only temporarily, for a cer- 
tain time, and will go away alone, and Liza will be left to me; 
that’s the whole thing. What more do I want ? And ... of 
course, he wants that himself; or else why does he torment 
her?” 

At last they arrived The Pogoryeltsevs’ country home really 
was a charming place; they were met first of all by a noisy 
crowd of children, flocking out into the porch. Velchaninov 
had not been there for a long time, and the children were in a 

43 



frenzy of delight; they were fond of him. The elder ones 
shouted to him at once, before he got out of the carriage — 

“ And how about the case, how is your case getting on ? ” 

The cry was caught up even by the smallest, and they shrieked 
it mirthfully in imitation of their elders. They used to tease 
him about the lawsuit. But, seeing Liza, they surrounded her 
at once and began scrutinizing her with intent, dumb, childish 
curiosity. Klavdia Petrovna came out, followed by her hus- 
band. She and her husband, too, began with a laughing question 
about the lawsuit. 

Klavdia Petrovna was a lady about thirty-seven, a plump 
and still good-looking brunette, with a fresh, rosy face. Her 
husband was fifty-five, a shrewd and clever man, but above 
Everything good-natured. Their house was in the fullest sense 
of the word “ a home ” to Velchaninov, as he had said himself. 
But underlying this was the special circumstance that, twenty 
years before, Klavdia Petrovna had been on the point of marry- 
ing Velchaninov, then a student, hardly more than a boy. it 
was a case of first love, ardent, ridiculous and splendid. It 
had ended, however, in her marrying Pogoryeltsev. Five years 
later they had met again, and it had all ended in a quiet, serene 
friendship. A certain warmth, a peculiar glow suffusing their 
relations, had remained for ever. All was pure and irreproach- 
able in Velchaninov’s memories of this friendship, and it was 
the dearer to him for being perhaps the solitary case in which 
this was so. Here in this family he was simple, unaffected and 
kind ; he used to fondle the children, he admitted all his failings, 
confessed his shortcomings, and never gave himself airs. He 
swore more than once to the Pogoryeltsevs that he should before 
long give up the world, come and live with them and never 
leave them again. In his heart he thought of this project 
seriously. 

He told them all that was necessary about Liza in some 
detail ; but a mere request from him was enough, without any 
special explanations. Klavdia Petrovna kissed the “ orphan ” 
and promised for her part to do everything. The children took 
possession of Liza and carried her off to play in the garden. 

After half-an-hour of lively conversation Velchaninov got up 
and began saying good-bye. He was so impatient that every 
one noticed it. They were all astonished ; he had not been to 
see them for three weeks and now he was going in half-an-hour. 
He laughed and pledged himself to come next day. They 

44 



remarked that he seemed to be in a state of great excitement ; 
he suddenly took Klavdia Petrovna’s hand and, on the pretext 
of having forgotten to tell her something important, drew her 
aside into another room. 

“ Do you remember what I told you — you alone — what even 
your husband does not know — of my year at T ? ” 

“I remember perfectly; you often talked of it.” 

“ It was not talking, it was a confession, to you alone, to 
you alone ! I never told you the surname of that woman ; 
she was the wife of this man Trusotsky. She is dead, and Liza 
is her daughter — my daughter ! ” 

“ Is it certain ? You are not mistaken ? ’* Klavdia Petrovna 
asked with some excitement. 

“ It’s perfectly certain, perfectly certain ; I am not mistaken ! ” 
Velchaninov pronounced ecstatically. 

And as briefly as he could, in haste and great excitement, he 
told her everything. Klavdia Petrovna already knew the whole 
story, but not the lady’s name. 

Velchaninov had always beeg so alarmed at the very idea 
that any one who knew him might ever meet Madame Trusotsky 
and think that he could so have loved that woman, that he had 
not till that day dared to reveal “ that woman’s ” name even to 
Klavdia Petrovna, his one friend. 

“ And the father knows nothing ? ” asked Klavdia Petrovna, 
when she had heard his story. 

“ Y-yes, he does know. ... It worries me that I’ve not got 
to the bottom of it yet ! ” Velchaninov went on eagerly. “ He 
knows, he knows; I noticed it to-day and yesterday. But I 
must know how much he knows. That’s why I’m in a hurry 
now. He is coming to me this evening. I can’t imagine, 
though, how he can have found out — found out everything , I 
mean. He knows about Bagautov, there’s no doubt of that. 
But about me ? You know how clever women are in reassuring 
their husbands in such cases ! If an angel came down from 
heaven — the husband would not believe him, but he would believe 
his wife ! Don’t shake your head and don’t blame me ; I blame 
myself and have blamed myself, for the whole affair, long ago, 
long ago ! . . . You see, I was so certain he knew when I was 
there this morning that I compromised myself before him. 
Would you believe it, I felt so wretched and ashamed at having 
met him so rudely yesterday (I will tell you all about it fully 
afterwards). He came to me yesterday from an irresistible, 

45 



malicious desire to M me that he knew of the wrong done 
him, and knew who had done it ; that was the whole reason of 
his stupid visit when he was drunk. But that was so natural on 
his part ! He simply came to work off his resentment ! I was 
altogether too hasty with him this morning and yesterday ! 
Careless — stupid ! I betrayed myself to him. Why did he turn 
up at a moment when I was upBet ? I tell you he’s even been 
tormenting Liza, tormenting the child, and probably that, too, 
was to work off his resentment — to vent his malice if only on 
the child ! Yes, he is spiteful — insignificant as he is, yet he is 
spiteful ; very much so, indeed. In himself he is no more than 
a buffoon, though, God knows, in old days he seemed to be a 
very decent fellow within his limits — it’s so natural that he should 
be going to the dogs ! One must look at it from a Christian 
point of view ! And you know, my dear, my best of friends, 
I want to be utterly different to him; I want to be kind to 
him. That would be really a 1 good deed ’ on my part. For, 
you know, after all, I have wronged him ! Listen, you know 
there’s something else I musk tell you. On one occasion in 

T I was in want of four thousand roubles, and he lent me 

the money on the spot/ with no security, and showed genuine 
pleasure at being of use to me; and, do you know, I took it 
then, I took it from his hands. I borrowed money from him, 
do you understand, as a friend ! ” 

“ Only be more careful,” Klavdia Petrovna anxiously observed, 
in response to all this. “ And what a state of ecstasy you’re 
in; I feel uneasy about you ! Of course, Liza will be like a 
child of my own now. But there’s so much, so much still to be 
settled l The great thing is that you must be more circum- 
spect ; you absolutely must be more circumspect when you are 
happy or so ecstatic ; you’re too generous when you are happy,” 
she added, with a smile. 

They all came out to see Velchaninov off. The children, who 
had been playing with Liza in the garden, brought her with 
them. They seemed to look at her with more amazement now 
than at first. Liza was overcome with shyness when, at part- 
ing, Velchaninov kissed her before them all, and warmly re- 
peated his promise to come next day with her father. To the 
last minute she was silent and did not look at him, but then 
suddenly she clutched at his arm and drew him aside, fixing 
an imploring look on him; she wanted to tell him something. 
He promptly took her away into another room. 

46 



“ What is it, Liza ? ” he asked JNV tendwdy and reassuringly; 
but she, still looking about her apprehensively, drew him into 
the furthest comer ; she wanted to be hidden from them all. 

“ What is it, Liza ? What’s the matter ? ” 

She was dumb, she could not bring herself to speak; she 
gazed fixedly with her blue eyes into his face, and every feature 
of her little face expressed nothing but frantic terror. 

“ He’ll . . . hang himself ! ” she whispered, as though in 
delirium. 

“ Who will hang himself ? ” asked Velchaninov in dismay. 

“ He, he ! He tried to hang himself with a cord in the 
night ! ” the child said breathlessly. “ I saw him ! He tried 
to hang himself with a cord, he told me so, he told me so ! He 
meant to before, he always meant to ... I saw him in the 
night. . . .” 

“ Impossible,” whispered Velchaninov in amazement. 

She suddenly fell to kissing his hands; she cried, almost 
choking with sobs, begged and besought him, but he could 
make nothing of her hystericaLwhispe rings. And the tortured 
face of that terror-stricken child who looked to him as her last 
hope remained printed on his memory for ever, haunting him 
awake and visiting his dreams. 

“ And can she, can she really love him so much ? ” he thought, 
jealously and enviously, as with feverish impatience he returned 
to town. “ She had told him herself that morning that she 
loved her mother more . . . perhaps she hated him and did 
not love him at all ! . . . And what did that mean : he will 
hang himself ? What did she mean by that ? Would the fool 
hang himself? . . . He must find out, he must certainly find 
out ! He must get to the bottom of it as soon as possibl< 
once and for all.” 


CHAPTER VH 

THE HUSBAND AND THE LOVER KISS EACH OTHER 

He was in terrible haste “ to find out.” 

“ This morning I was so overwhelmed. This morning I 
hadn’t the time to realize the position,” he thought, recalling 
his first sight of Liza, ” but now I must find out.” To find out 
more quickly he was on the point of telling the driver to take him 
to Trusotsky’s lodging, but on second thoughts decided : ” No, 

47 



better let him come to me, and meanwhile I’ll make haste and 
get this accursed legal business off my hands.” 

He set to work feverishly; but this time he was conscious 
himself that he was very absent-minded and that he was hardly 
capable that day of attending to business. At five o’clock, 
when he went out to dinner, he was struck for the first time by 
an absurd idea : that perhaps he really was only hindering the 
progress of his case, by meddling iiv the lawsuit himself, fussing 
about in the law courts and hunting up his lawyer, who was 
already beginning to hide from him. He laughed gaily at his 
supposition. “ If this idea had occurred to me yesterday, I 
should have been dreadfully distressed,” he added, even more 
gaily. In spite of his gaiety, he grew more and more preoccupied 
and more and more impatient. He fell to musing at last ; and 
though his restless thought clutched at one thing after another, 
he could arrive at nothing that would satisfy him. 

“ I must have that man ! ” he decided finally. “ I must 
solve the riddle of that man, and then make up my mind. It’s — 
a duel!” 

Returning home at seven o*clock, he did not find Pavel 
Pavlovitch and svas extremely surprised, then extremely wrath- 
ful, and later still extremely depressed ; finally he began to be 
actually frightened. 

“ God knows, God knows how it will end ! ” he repeated, as 
he walked about the room or stretched himself on the sofa, 
continually looking at his watch. At last, about nine o’clock, 
Pavel Pavlovitch appeared. “ If the fellow were trying to dupe 
me, he couldn’t have caught me at a more favourable time — 
I feel so unhinged at this moment,” he thought, his confidence 
completely restored and his spirits rising again. 

To his brisk and cheerful inquiry why he was so late coming, 
Pavel Pavlovitch gave a wry smile, seated himself with a free 
and easy air, very different from his manner the night before, 
and carelessly threw his hat with the crape on it on another chair 
close by. Velchaninov at once noticed this free and easy 
manner and made a note of it. 

Calmly, without wasting words, with none of the excitement 
he had shown in the morning, he told him, as though giving a 
report, how he had taken Liza, how kindly she had been received, 
how good it would be for her, and little by little, as though for- 
getting Liza, he imperceptibly turned the conversation entirely 
on the Pogoryeltsevs — what charming people they were, how 

48 



long he had known them, what a splendid and influential man 
Pogoryeltsev was, and so on. Pavel Pavlovitch listened in- 
attentively and from time to time glanced up from under his 
brows at the speaker with an ill-humoured and crafty sneer. 

" You're an impulsive person," he muttered, with a particularly 
disagreeable smile. 

“ You're rather ill-humoured to-day, though," Velchaninov 
observed with vexation. 

“ And why shouldn’t I be ill-humoured, like every one else ! " 
Pavel Pavlovitch cried out suddenly, just as though he had only 
been waiting for that to bounce out. 

“ You're at liberty to please yourself," laughed Velchaninov. 
“ I wondered if anything had happened to you." 

“ So it has ! " the other exclaimed, as though boasting that 
something had happened. 

“ What is it ? ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch delayed answering for a little. 

" Why, our Stepan Mihalovitch has played me a trick . . 
Bagautov, that elegant young Petersburg gentleman of the 
best society." 

“ Was he not at home again ? " 

“ No, this time he was at home. For the first time I was 
admitted, and I gazed upon his face . . . only he was dead ! " 

“ Wha — at ! Bagautov is dead ? " Velchaninov was awfully 
surprised, though there was no apparent reason for his being 
so surprised. 

“ Yes. For six years our true and constant friend ! Only 
yesterday, almost at midday, he died, and I knew nothing of it ! 
I was going maybe that very minute to inquire after his health. 
To-morrow there will be the service and the funeral, he’s already 
in his coffin. The coffin is lined with crimson-coloured velvet 
trimmed with gold ... he died of brain fever. I was admitted 
— 1 was admitted to gaze upon his face ! I told them at the 
door that I was an intimate friend, that was why I was admitted. 
What's one to think of the way he’s treated mo now, my true 
and constant friend for six long years — I ask you that ? Perhaps 
it was only on his account I came to Petersburg ! ” 

“ But what are you angry with him for ? " laughed Velchaninov. 
“ Why, he did not die on purpose ! " 

“ But I speak with my heart full of regret ; he was a precious 
friend; this was what he meant to me." 

And all at once, quite unexpected^, Pavel Pavlovitch put up 

E 49 



his two fingers like two horns on his bald forehead and went 
off into a low, prolonged chuckle. He sat like that, chuckling, 
for a full half-minute, staring into Velchaninov’s face in a frenzy 
of malignant insolence. The latter was petrified as though at 
the sight of some ghost. But his stupefaction lasted but one 
brief instant; a sarcastic and insolently composed smile came 
slowly upon his lips. 

“ What’s the meaning of that ? ” he asked, carelessly drawling 
the words. 

“ The meaning of it is — horns ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch rapped 
out, taking away his fingers from his forehead at last. 

“ That is . . . your horns? ” 

“ My own, generously bestowed ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch said with 
a very nasty grimace. Both were silent. 

“ You’re a plucky fellow, I must say ! ” Velchaninov pro- 
nounced. 

“ Because I showed you my decorations ? Do you know. 
Alexey Ivanovitch, you’d better offer me something ! You 
know I entertained you every blessed day for a whole year 
at T Send for just one bottle, my throat is dry.” 

“With pleasure; you should have said so before. What 
will you have ? ” 

“ Why yon ? Say we ; we’ll drink together, won’t we ? ” said 
Pavel Pavlovitch, gazing into his face with a challenging, but at 
the same time strangely uneasy look. 

“ Champagne ? ” 

“ What else ? It’s not the time for vodka yet. . . .” 

Velchaninov got up deliberately, rang for Mavra and gave 
instructions. 

“ To the joy of our delightful meeting after nine years’ 
absence,” said Pavel Pavlovitch, with a quite superfluous and 
inappropriate snigger. “ Now you, and you only, are the one 
friend left me ! Stepan Mihalovitch Bagautov is no more ! 
As the poet says — 

“Great Patroclus is no more, 

Vile Theraites still lives on 1 ” 

And at the word “ Thersites ” he poked himself in the chest. 

“ You’d better hurry up and speak out, you swine; I don’t 
like hints,” Velchaninov thought to himself. His anger was 
rising and for a long time he had hardly been able to restrain 
himself. 


50 



“ Tell me,” he said in a tone of vexation, “ since you accuse 
Stepan Mihalovitch ” (he could not qall him simply Bagautov 
now), “ 1 should have thought you would have been glad that 
the man who has wronged you is dead; why are you angry 
about it ? ” 

“Glad? Why glad ? ” 

“ I imagine those must be your feelings.” 

“ He— he! You are quite mistaken about my feelings on that 
subject ; as some wise man has said, ‘ A dead enemy is good, but 
a living one is better,’ he — he ! ” 

“ But you saw him living every day for five years, I believe; 
you had time to get tired of the sight of him,” Velchaninov 
observed, with spiteful impertinence. 

“ But you don’t suppose I knew then . . . you don’t suppose 
I knew ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch blurted out suddenly, just as 
though he had bounced out from behind a corner again, and as 
though he were delighted to be asked a question he had long 
been waiting for. 

“ What do you take me for, then, Alexey Ivanovitch ? ” 

And there was a gleam in his face of something quite new 
and unexpected, which seemed to transform his countenance, 
till then full of spite and abjectly grimacing. 

“ Is it possible you didn’t know, then ! ” said Velchaninov, 
disconcerted and completely taken by surprise. 

“Is it possible I knew? Is it possible I knew? Oh, you 
race of Jupiters ! For you a man’s no more than a dog, and 
you judge all according to your own petty nature. I tell you 
that ! You can swallow that ! ” And he banged frantically 
on the table with his fist, but was at once dismayed at the bang 
and began to look apprehensive. 

Velchaninov assumed an air of dignity. 

“ Listen, Pavel Pavlovitch. It’s absolutely nothing to me, as 
you can see for yourself, whether you knew, or whether you 
didn’t. If you didn’t know, it’s to your credit in any case, 
though ... I can’t understand, however, why you’ve chosen 
to make this confidence to me ? ” . . . 

“ I didn’t mean you . . . don’t be angry. I didn’t mean 
you . . .” muttered Pavel Pavlovitch, looking down. 

Mavra came in with the champagne. 

“ Here it is ! ” cried Pavel Pavlovitch, evidently relieved at 
her entrance. “ Glasses, my good girl, glasses ; splendid ! 
We ask for nothing more, my dear. And uncorked already ! 

5i 



Honour and glory to you, charming creature ! Come, you 
can go ! ’ 

And with renewed courage he looked impudently at Vel- 
chaninov again. 

" Confess,” he chuckled suddenly, 44 that all this is very 
interesting and by no means 4 absolutely nothing to you,* as 
you were pleased to declare; so much so that you would be 
disappointed if I were to get up this minute and go away without 
explaining myself.’ * 

“ I really shouldn’t be disappointed.” 

44 Oh, that’s a lie ! ” was what Pavel Pavlovitch’s smile 
expressed. 

44 Well, let’s come to business ! ” And he filled his glass. 

44 Let’s drink,” he pronounced, taking up the glass, 44 to the 
health of our friend departed in God, Stepan Mihalovitch.” 

He raised his glass, and drank it. 

44 I’m not going to drink such a health,” said Velchaninov. 
putting down his glass. 

44 Why not ? It’s a pleasant toast.” 

44 1 say, weren’t you drunk when you came in just now ? ” 

44 1 had had a little. But why ? ” 

44 Nothing particular, but I thought last night, and this morning 
still more, that you were genuinely grieved at the loss of Natalya 
Vassilyevna.” 

44 And who told you that I’m not genuinely grieved at the 
loss of her now ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch bounced out again, exactly 
as though he were worked by springs. 

44 And I didn’t mean that ; but you must admit that you may 
be mistaken about Stepan Mihalovitch, and it is — a grave 
matter.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch smiled craftily and winked. 

44 And wouldn’t you like to know how I found out about 
Stepan Mihalovitch ? ” 

Velchaninov flushed. 

44 1 tell you again that it*s nothing to me.” 44 Hadn’t I better 
chuck him out this minute, bottle and all ? ” ho thought furiously, 
and he flushed a deeper crimson. 

44 That’s all right ! ” said Pavel Pavlovitch, as though 
trying to encourage him, and he poured himself out another 
glass. 

44 1 will explain at once how I found out all about it, and so 
gratify your ardeut desire ... for you are an ardent man, 

52 



Alexey Ivanovitch, a terribly ardent man ! He — he ! Only 
give me a cigarette, for ever since March . . . ! ” 

“ Here’s a cigarette for you.” 

“ I have gone to the dogs since March, Alexey Ivanovitch, 
and 1*11 tell you how it’s oil happened — listen. Consumption, 
as you know yourself, my best of friends,” he grew more and 
more familiar, “ is a curious disease. Consumptives have 
scarcely a suspicion they may be dying to morrow and then all 
in a minute they’re dead. I tell you that only five hours before 
Natalya Vassilyevna was planning a visit a fortnight later to 
her aunt, thirty miles away. You are aware, too, probably, of 
the practice, or rather bad habit — common in many ladies and 
very likely in their admirers as well — of preserving all sorts of 
rubbish in the way of love-letters. ... It would be much safer 
to put them in the stove, wouldn’t it ? No, every scrap of paper 
is carefully stored away in a box or a ntcessaire ; even docketed 
in years, and in months, and in series. Whether it’s a comfort 
to them — I don’t know; but, no doubt, it’s for the sake of 
agreeable memories. Since only five hours before her end she 
was arranging to go to visit her aunt, Natalya Vassilyevna 
naturally had no thought of death to the very last hour. She 
was still expecting Koch. So it happened that Natalya Vassi- 
lyevna died, and an ebony box inlaid with mother-of-pearl 
and silver was left standing on her bureau. And it was a charm- 
ing box, with a lock and key, an heirloom that had come to her 
from her grandmother. In that box everything lay revealed, 
absolutely everything ; all, without exception, with the year and 
the day, everything for the last twenty years. And as Stepan 
Mihalovitch had a distinct literary bent (he actually sent a 
passionate love story to a journal), his contributions ran into 
the hundreds — to be sure they were spread out over five years. 
Some specimens had been annotated in Natalya Vassilyevna’s 
own handwriting. A pleasant surprise for a husband. What 
do you think of it ? ” 

Velchaninov reflected hurriedly and felt sure that he had never 
sent Natalya Vassilyevna a singlo letter, not a note of any kind. 
Though he had written twice from Petersburg, his letters, in 
accordance with a compact between them, had been addressed 
to the husband as well as the wife. To Natalya Vassilyevna’s 
last letter, in which she had decreed his banishment, he had 
never answered. 

When he had ended his story, Pavel Pavlovitch paused 

53 



for a full minute with an importunate and expectant 
smile. 

44 Why do you give me no answer to my little question ? ” 
he brought out at last, with evident anxiety. 

44 What little question ? ” 

44 Why, the pleasant surprise for a husband on opening that 
box.” 

44 Oh ! what is it to do with me ! ” exclaimed Velchaninov, 
with a gesture of disgust, and he got up and walked about the 
room. 

44 And I bet you’re thinking now, you’re a swine to have shown 
me your shame. He — he ! You’re a very fastidious man . . . 
you are.” 

44 I think nothing about it. On the contrary, you are so much 
exasperated by the death of the man wno wronged you and 
you’ve drunk so much wine, too. I see nothing extraordinary 
in all this ; I quite understand why you wanted Bagautov alive, 

and I am ready to respect your annoyance : but ” 

“ And what did I want Bagautov for, do you suppose ? ” 

14 That’s your affair.” 

44 1 bet that you were thinking of a duel ! ” 

44 Damn it all ! ” cried Velchaninov, growing more and more 
unable to control himself. “ I imagine that a decent man . . . 
in such cases does not stoop to ridiculous babble, to stupid antics, 
to ludicrous complaints and disgusting insinuations, by which 
he only degrades himself more, but acts openly, directly, straight- 
forwardly — like a decent man ? ” 

14 He — he ! but perhaps I’m not a decent man ! ” 

44 That’s your affair again . . . but in that case, what the 
devil did you want Bagautov alive for ? ” 

44 Why, if only to see a friend. We’d have had a bottle and 
drunk together.” 

44 He wouldn’t have drunk with you.” 

44 Why not ? Noblesse oblige ! Here, you’re drinking with 
me ; in what way is he better than you ? ” 

44 1 haven’t drunk with you.” 

44 Why such pride all of a sudden ? ” 

Velchaninov suddenly broke into a nervous and irritable 
laugh. 

44 Damnation ! Why, you are really a 4 predatory type ’ ! 
1 thought you were only 4 the eternal husband,’ and nothing 
more ! ” 


54 



" What do you mean by ‘ the eternal husband,* what’s that ? ” 
Pavel Pavlovitch suddenly pricked up his ears. 

“ Oh, it’s one type of husband ... it would be a long story. 
You’d better clear out, it’s time you were gone; I’m sick of 
you.” 

“ And predatory ? You said 4 predatory * ! ” 

44 I said you were a 4 predatory type * ; I said it ironically.” 

44 What do you mean by a 4 predatory type ’ ? Tell me, please, 
Alexey Ivanovitch, for God’s sake, or for Christ's sake ! ” 

44 Come, that’s enough, that’s enough ! ” cried Velchaninov, 
suddenly growing horribly angry. “ It’s time you were off. 
Get along.” 

“ No, it’s not enough ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch flared up; “ even 
though you are sick of me it’s not enough, for we must drink 
together and clink glasses ! Let us drink together, and then 
I’ll go, but as it is it’s not enough ! ” 

44 Pavel Pavlovitch ! Will you go to the devil to-day or will 
you not ? ” 

“ I can go to the devil, but first we’ll drink ! You said that 
you would not drink with me ; but I want you to drink with me ! ” 

There was no grimacing, no sniggering about him now. He 
seemed all at once entirely transformed, and to have become in 
his whole tone and appearance so completely the opposite of 
the Pavel Pavlovitch of the moment before, that Velchaninov 
was quite taken aback. 

44 Do let us drink, Alexey Ivanovitch ! Don’t refuse me,” 
Pavel Pavlovitch persisted, gripping his hand tightly and looking 
strangely into his eyes. 

Clearly there was more at stake than merely drinking. 

“Yes, if you like,” muttered Velchaninov; “but how can 
we? . . . There’s nothing left but the dregs. . . .” 

“ There are just two glasses left, it’s thick, but we’ll drink it 
and clink glasses ! Here, take your glass.” 

They clinked their glasses and emptied them. 

“ Since that’s so — since that’s so . . . Ach ! ” 

Pavel Pavlov .tch clutched his forehead in his hand and 
remained for some moments in that position. Velchaninov had 
a feeling every moment that he would speak out and utter the 
very final word. But Pavel Pavlovitch uttered nothing; he 
simply gazed at him and smiled again the same sly, knowing 
smile. 

“ What do you want of me, you drunken fellow ! You’re 

55 



playing the fool with me ! ” Velchaninbv shouted furiously, 
stamping. 

“Don’t shout, don’t shout; what is there to shout for? ” 
cried Pavel Pavlovitch, gesticulating hurriedly. “ I’m not 
playing the fool, I’m not playing the fool ! Do you know what 
you are to me now ? *’ 

And he suddenly seized his hand and kissed it. Velchaninov 
was utterly taken aback. 

“ That’s what you mean to me now ! And now — and now 
I’ll go to the devil as soon as you please ! ” 

“ Wait a minute, stay ! ’’ cried Velchaninov, recovering him- 
self. “ I forgot to tell you. ...” 

Pavel Pavlovitch turned back from the door. 

“ You see,” muttered Velchaninov, very quickly, flushing 
crimson and looking away, “ you must be at the Pogoryeltsevs* 
to-morrow ... to make their acquaintance and thank them; 
you must ...” 

“ Certainly, I must. I understand that, of course ! ” Pavel 
Pavlovitch acquiesced with the utmost readiness, waving his 
hand quickly as though to protest that there was no need to 
remind him. 

“ And besides, Liza is very anxious to see you. I promised 
her ” 

“Liza!” Pavel Pavlovitch turned back. “Liza? Do you 
know what Liza has meant to me and means ? Has meant and 
still means ! ” he cried all at once, almost frantically. “ But . . . 
But of that later, all that can be later. . . . But now it’s not 
enough that we’ve drunk together, Alexey Ivanovitch, I must 
have something else to be satisfied. . . 

He laid his hat on a chair and gazed at him, gasping for breath 
a little as he had done just before. 

“ Kiss me, Alexey Ivanovitch ! ” he suggested suddenly. 

“ You’re drunk ! ” Velchaninov declared, stepping back. 

“ Yes, but kiss me all the same, Alexey Ivanovitch. Oh, 
kiss me ! Why, I kissed your hand just now.” 

For some minutes Velchaninov was silent, as though stunned 
by a blow on the head. But suddenly he bent down to Pavel 
Pavlovitch, whose face was on a level with his shoulder, and kissed 
him on the lips, which smelt very strongly of spirits. He was not, 
however, perfectly certain that he had kissed him. 

“ Well, now, now. . . .” Pavel Pavlovitch cried again in a 
drunken frenzy, his drunken eyes flashing ; “ now I’ll tell you ; 

56 



I thought then. What if he too 1 What if that one, I thought ; 
what if he too . . . whom can I trust after that ! ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch suddenly burst into tears. 

“ So you understand, you’re the one friend left me now ! ” 

And he ran with his hat out of the room. Velchaninov again 
stood still for some minutes in the same place, just as he had done 
after Pavel Pavlovitch’s first visit. 

“ Ah ! a drunken fool and nothing more ! ” He waved his 
hand, dismissing the subject. 

“Absolutely nothing more,” he repeated energetically as 
he undressed and got into bed. 


CHAPTER Vin 

LIZA ILL 

Next morning Velchaninov walked about his room expecting 
Pavel Pavlovitch, who had promised to arrive in good time to 
go to the Pogoryeltsevs. As he smoked and sipped his coffee 
he was conscious at every moment that he was like a man who, 
on waking up in the morning cannot forget for one instant that 
he has received a slap ip the face overnight. “ H’m ! ... he 
quite understands the position and will take his revenge on me 
through Liza ! ” he thought with horror. 

The charming figure of the poor child rose mournfully before 
him for a moment. His heart beat faster at the thought that 
he would soon, within two hours, see his Liza again. “ Ah ! it’s 
no use talking about it ! ” he decided hotly — “ It’s my whole 
life and my whole object now ! what do slaps in the face or 
memories of the past matter ? What has my life been till now ? 
Muddle and sadness . . . but now — it’s all different, everything's 
changed ! ” 

But in spite of his enthusiasm, he grew more and more 
doubtful. 

“ He is tormenting me by means of Liza — that’s clear ! And 
he is tormenting Liza too. It’s in that way he will devour me 
utterly in revenge for everything. H’m ! ... Of course, I 
can’t ’allow him to go on as he did yesterday ” — he flushed 
crimson all at once — “ and . . . here it’s twelve o’clock, though, 
he doesn’t come.” 

He waited a long time, till half-past twelve, and his depression 

57 



grew more and more acute. Pavel Pavloviteh did not appear. 
At last the thought that had long been stirring in his mind, that 
Pavel Pavloviteh had not come on purpose, simply in order to 
get up another scene like that of the night before, put the finishing 
touch to his irritation. “ He knows that I depend on him, and 
what a state Liza will be in now. And how can I appear before 
her without him ? ” 

At last he could stand it no longer, and at one o’clock he 
rushed off to the Pokrovsky Hotel alone. At the lodging he was 
told that Pavel Pavloviteh had not slept at home, but had only 
turned up at nine o’clock in the morning, had stayed no more 
than a quarter of an hour, and then gone out again. Velchaninov 
stood at the door of Pavel Pavlovitch’s room, listening to what 
the servant said, and mechanically turned the handle of the 
locked door and pulled it backwards and forwards. Realizing 
what he was doing] he uttered a curse and asked the servant to 
take him to Marya Sysoevna. But the landlady, hearing he was 
there, came out readily. 

She was a good-natured woman. 44 A woman with generous 
feelings,” as Velchaninov said of her when he was reporting his 
conversation afterwards to Klavdia Petrovna. Inquiring briefly 
about his journey with the child the day before, Marya Sysoevna 
launched out into accounts of Pavel Pavlovitch’s doings. In 
her words : “ If it had not been for the child, she would have 
sent him about his business long ago. He was turned out of 
the hotel because of his disorderly behaviour. Wasn’t it 
wicked to bring home a wench with him when there was a child 
here old enough to understand ? He was shouting : 4 She will 
be your mother, if I choose ! ’ And, would you believe it ? what 
that street wench did, she even spat in his face. 4 You’re not 
my daughter, but he’s a ! ’ she cried.” 

44 Really ! ” Velchaninov was horrified. 

44 1 heard it myself. Though the man was drunk till he was 
almost senseless, yet it was very wrong before the child ; though 
she is but young, she broods over everything in her mind ! The 
child cries. I can see she is worried to death. And the other 
day there was a terrible thing done in our building : a clerk, so 
folks say, took a room in the hotel overnight, and in the morning 
hanged himself. They say he had squandered all his money. 
People flocked to see. Pavel Pavloviteh was not at home, and 
the child was running about with no one to look after her ; I 
looked, and there she was in the passage among the people, and 

58 



peeping in behind the others : she was looking so strangely at 
the body. I brought her away as quickly a8 1 could. And what 
do you think — she was all of a tremble, she looked quite black 
in the face, and as soon as I brought her in she flopped on the 
floor in a faint. She struggled and writhed, and it was all I 
could do to bring her round. It was a fit, and she’s been poorly 
ever since that hour. He heard of it, came home, and pinched 
her all over — for he’s not one for beating, he’s more given to 
pinching her, and afterwards, when he came home after having 
a drop, he'd frighten her : ‘I’ll hang myself too,* he’d say; 
‘ you’ll make me hang myself ; on this blind-cord here,’ he’d 
say; and he’d make a noose before her eyes. And she’d be 
beside herself — she’d scream and throw her little arms round 
him : * I won’t ! ’ she’d cry, 4 1 never will again.’ It was pitiful.” 

Though Velchaninov had expected something strange, this 
story amazed him so much that he could not believe it. 

Marya Sysoevna told him a great deal more ; on one occasion, 
for instance, had it not been for Marya Sysoevna Liza might 
have thrown herself out of the window. 

Velchaninov went out of the house reeling as though he were 
drunk. 

“ I’ll knock him on the head like a dog ! ” was the thought 
that floated before his mind. And for a long time he kept 
repeating it to himself. 

He took a cab and drove to the Pogoryeltsevs. On the way 
the carriage was obliged to stop at the cross roads, near the 
bridge on the canal, over which a long funeral procession was 
passing. And on both sides of the bridge there were several 
carriages waiting in a block ; people on foot were stopped too. 
It was a grand funeral and there was a very long string of 
carriages following it, and lo and behold ! in the windows of one 
of these carriages Velchaninov caught a passing glimpse of the 
face of Pavel Pavlovitch. He would not have believed his eyes 
if Pavel Pavlovitch had not thrust his head out and nodded to 
him with a smile. Evidently he was delighted at recognizing 
Velchaninov ; he even began beckoning to him from the carriage. 
Velchaninov jumped out of his cab and, in spite of the crush, 
in spite of the police, and in spite of the fact that Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch’s carriage was driving on to the bridge, he ran right up to 
the window. Pavel Pavlovitch was alone. 

“What’s the matter with you? ” cried Velchaninov; “why 
didn’t you come ? How is it you are here I ” 

59 



“ I*m repaying a debt. Don’t shout, don’t shout, I am repay- 
ing a debt,” sniggered Pavel Pavlovitch, screwing up his eyes 
jocosely. “ I’m following the mortal remains of my faithful 
friend, Stepan Mihalovitch.” 

“ That’s all nonsense, you drunken, senseless man,” Vel- 
chaninov shouted louder than ever, though he was taken aback 
for an instant. “ Get out this minute and come into the cab 
with me.” 

“ I can’t, it’s a duty. . . 

" I’ll drag you out ! ” Velchaninov yelled. 

" And I’ll scream ! I’ll scream ! ” said Pavel Pavlovitch, 
sniggering as jocosely as before, as though it were a game, though 
he did huddle into the furthest comer of the carriage. . . . 

“ Look out, look out ! you’ll be run over ! ” shouted a 
policeman. 

At the further end of the bridge a carriage cutting across the 
procession did, in fact, cause a commotion. Velchaninov was 
forced to skip back; the stream of carriages and the crowd of. 
people immediately carried him further away. With a curse 
he made his way back to the cab. 

“ No matter, I couldn’t have taken a fellow like that with me, 
at any rate ! ” he thought, with a feeling of bewildered anxiety 
that persisted. 

When he told Klavdia Petrovna Marya Sysoevna’s story and 
described the strange meeting in the funeral procession, she 
grew very thoughtful. 

4< I fee! afraid for you,” Bhe said. “ You ought to break off 
all relations with him, and the sooner the better.” 

“ He’s a drunken fool and nothing more ! ” Velchaninov cried 
passionately; “ as though I could be afraid of him ! And how 
can I break off relations with him when there’s Liza to be 
considered. Think of Liza ! ” 

Liza meanwhile was lying ill; she had begun to be feverish 
the evening before and they were expecting a celebrated doctor, 
for whom they had sent an express messenger to the town in 
the morning. This completed Velchaninov’s distress. 

Klavdia Petrovna took him to the invalid. 

“ I watched her very carefully yesterday,” she observed, 
stopping outside Liza’s room. “ She’s a proud and reserved 
child; she is ashamed that she is here, and that her father 
has cast her off; that’s the whole cause of her illness, to my 
thinking.” 


60 



“ How cast her off 1 Why do you say he’s cast her off ? ” 

“ The very fact that he let her come here, among complete 
strangers and with a man . . . who’s almost a stranger, too, 
or on such terms . . 

“ But it was I took her, I took her by force; I don’t per- 
ceive ” 

“ Oh, my God, and even Liza, a child, perceives it ! It’s 
my belief that he simply won’t come at all.” 

Liza was not astonished when she saw Velchaninov alone; 
she only smiled mournfully and turned her feverishly hot little 
head to the wall. She made no response to Velchaninov’s timid 
efforts to comfort her and his fervent promises to bring her 
father next day without fail. On coming away from her, he 
suddenly burst into tears. 

It was evening before the doctor came. After examining the 
patient, he alarmed them all from the first word, by observing 
that they had done wrong not to have sent for him before. 
When it was explained to him that the child had been taken 
ill only the evening before, he was at first incredulous. 

“ It all depends how things go on to-night,” he said in con- 
clusion. After giving various instructions, he went away, 
promising to come again next day as early as possible. Vel- 
chaninov would have insisted on staying the night, but Klavdia 
Petrovna begged him once more “ to try and bring that 
monster.” 

“ Try once more,” Velchaninov retorted in a frenzy. " Why, 
this time I’ll tie him hand and foot and carry him here in my 
arms ! ” The idea of tying Pavel Pavlovitch hand and foot 
and carrying him there took possession of him and made him 
violently impatient to carry it out. “ I don’t feel in the least 
guilty towards him now, not in the least ! ” he said to Klavdia 
Petrovna, as he said good-bye. “ I take back all the abject, 
snivelling things I said here yesterday,” he added indignantly. 

Liza was lying with her eyes shut, apparently asleep; she 
seemed to be better. When Velchaninov cautiously bent over 
her head, to say good-bye and to kiss, if only the edge of her 
garment, she suddenly opened her eyes, as though she had been 
expecting him, and whispered to him — 

“ Take me away ! ” 

It was a gentle, pitiful prayer, without a shade in it of the 
irritability of the previous day, but at the same time he could 
hear in it the conviction that he would not do what she asked. 

61 



Velchaninov, in complete despair, began trying to persuade 
her that this was impossible. 

In silence &he closed her eyes and did not utter another word, 
as though she did not see or hear him. 

On getting into Petersburg he told the driver to take him 
straight to Pokrovsky Hotel. It was ten o’clock; Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch was not in his lodging. Velchaninov spent a full half-hour 
in waiting for him and walking up and down the passage in 
siokening suspense. Marya Sysoevna assured him at last that 
Pavel Pavlovitch would not be pack till early next morning. 
“ Then I will come early in the morning,” Velchaninov decided, 
and, beside himself, he set off for home. 

But what was his astonishment when, at the door of his flat, 
he learned from Mavra that his yesterday’s visitor had been 
waiting for him since ten o’clock. 

“ And has been pleased to drink tea here, and has sent out for 
wine again, and has given me a blue note to get it.” 


CHAPTER IX 

AN APPARITION 

Pavel Pavlovitch had made himself exceedingly comfortable. 
He was sitting in the same chair as the day before, smoking a 
cigarette, and had just poured himself out the fourth and last 
glass from a bottle of wine. The teapot and an unfinished glass 
of tea was standing on a table close by. His flushed face was 
beaming with bliss. He had even taken off his coat, as it was 
warm, and was sitting in his waistcoat. 

“ Excuse me, most faithful of friends ! ” he cried, seeing 
Velchaninov and jumping up to put on his coat. “ I took it off 
for the greater enjoyment of the moment ...” 

Velchaninov went up to him menacingly. 

“ Are you not quite drunk yet 1 Is it still possible to talk 
to you ? ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch was a little fluttered. 

“ No, not quite. ... I’ve been commemorating the deceased, 
but — not quite ” 

“ Will you understand me too ? ” 

“ That’s what I’ve come for, to understand you.” 

62 



"Well, ther> ; I begin by telling you straight out that you 
are a worthless scoundrel ! cried Velchaninov. 

" If you begin like that, how will you end ? ” Pavel 
Pavlovitch protested, evidently oowed, but Velchaninov went 
on shouting without heeding him. 

" Your daughter is dying, she is ill ; have you abandoned her 
or not ? ” 

" Can she really be dying ? ” 

" She is ill, ill, exceedingly, dangerously ill ! ” 

" Possibly some little fit . . 

" Don’t talk nonsense ! She is ex — ceed — ing — ly, danger- 
ously ill ! You ought to have gone it only to . . 

" To express my gratitude,, my gratitude for their hospi- 
tality ! I quite understand that ! Alexey Ivanovitch, my 
precious, perfect friend ” — he suddenly clutched Velchaninov’s 
hand in both of his, and with drunken sentimentality, almost 
with tears, as though imploring forgiveness, he kept crying out : 
“ Alexey Ivanovitch, don’t shout, don’t shout ! Whether I die 
or fall drunk into the Neva — what does it matter in the real 
significance of things? We have plenty of time to go to Mr. 
Pogoryeltsev ...” 

Velchaninov pulled himself together and restrained himself a 
little. 

“ You’re drunk, and so I don’t understand the sense of what you 
are saying,” he observed sternly. " I am always ready to have 
things out with you, shall be glad to, in fact, as soon as possible. 

. . . I’ve come indeed. . . . But first of all I warn you that I 
shall take steps : you must stay the night here ! To-morrow 
morning I’ll take you and we'll go together. I won't let you go,” 
he yelled again. v I’ll tie you up and carry you there in my 
arms ! . . . Would you like this sofa? ” he said breathlessly, 
pointing to a wide, soft sofa, which stood opposite the one 
against the other wall, where he used to sleep himself. 

“ By all means, I can sleep anywhere . . .” 

" Not anywhere, but on that sofa ! Here, take your sheets, 
your quilt, your pillow.” All these Velchaninov took out of the 
cupboard and hurriedly flung them to Pavel Pavlovitch, who 
held out his arms submissively. " Make the bed at once, make 
it at once ! ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch, loaded with his burden, stood in the middle 
of the room as though hesitating, with a broad drunken grin 
on his drunken face. But at a second menacing shout from 

63 



Velchaninov he suddenly began bustling. about at full speed; 
he pushed baok the table and began, sighing and groaning, 
to unfold the sheets and make the bed. Velohaninov went to 
assist him ; he was, to some extent, appeased by the alarm and 
submissiveness of his visitor. 

" Finish your glass and go to bed,” he ordered him again ; 
he felt as though he could not help giving orders. “ You sent 
for that wine yourself, didn’t you ? ” 

“ Yes. ... I knew you wouldn’t send for any more, Alexey 
Ivanovitch.” 

” It was well you knew it, and there is something more you 
must know too. I tell you once more I’ve taken measures, 
I won’t put up with any more of your antics, I won’t put up 
with your drunken kisses as I did yesterday.” 

“ I understand myself, Alexey Ivanovitch, that that was only 
possible once,” sniggered Pavel Pavlovitch. 

Hearing his answer, Velchaninov, who had been striding up 
and down the room, stopped almost solemnly before Pavel 
Pavlovitch. 

“ Pavel Pavlovitch, tell me frankly ! You’re a sensible man, 
I’ve recognized that again, but I assure you, you are on the 
wrong tack! Speak straightforwardly, act straightforwardly 
and I give you my word of honour I will answer any question 
you like.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch grinned his broad grin again, which was 
enough in itself to drive Velchaninov to fury. 

“ Stop ! ” Velchaninov shouted again. “ Don’t sham, I see 
through you ! I repeat : I give you my word of honour, that 
I am ready to answer anything and you shall receive every 
satisfaction possible, that is every sort, even the impossible ! 
Oh, how I wish you could understand me ! . . .” 

“ Since you are so good ” — Pavel Pavlovitch moved cautiously 
towards him — “ I was much interested in what you said last 
night about a ‘ predatory type 9 ! . . .” 

Velchaninov, with a curse, fell to pacing about the room 
more rapidly than ever. 

“ No, Alexey Ivanovitch, don’t ourse, because I’m so much 
interested, and have come on purpose to make sure. . . . I’m 
not very ready with my tongue, but you must forgive me. 
You know of that * predatory type,’ and of that * peaceable 
type ’ I read in a magazine, in the literary criticism . I remembered 
it this morning . . . only I had forgotten it, and to tell the truth 

64 



} did not understand it at the time. This is what I wanted you 
to explain : the deceased, Stepan Mihalovitch Bagautov — was 
he ‘ predatory ’ or * peaceable ’ ? How do you classify him ? ” 

Velchaninov still remained silent, and did not cease his pacing 
up end down. 

“The predatory type,” he began, stopping suddenly in 
exasperation, “ is the man who would sooner have put poison 
in Bagautov’s glass when drinking champagne with him in 
honour of their delightful meeting, as you drank with me yester- 
day than have followed his coffin to the cemetery as you have 
to-day, the devil only knows from what secret, underground, 
loathesome impulse and distorted feeling that only degrades 
you ! Yes, degrades you ! ” 

“ It’s true that I shouldn’t have gone,” Pavel Pavlovitch 
assented; “but you do pitch into me . . .” 

“ It’s not the man,” Velchaninov, getting hotter, went on 
shouting, without heeding him; “it’s not the man who posfes 
to himself as goodness knows what, who reckons up his score 
of right and wrong, goes over and over his grievance as though 
it were a lesson, frets, goes in for all sorts of antics and apish- 
ness, hangs on people’s necks — and most likely he has been 
spending all his time at it too ! Is it true that you tried to 
hang yourself — is it ? ” 

“ When I was drunk, I did talk wildly — I don’t remember. 
It isn’t quite seemly, Alexey Ivanovitch, to put poison in 
wine. Apart from the fact that I am a civil servant of good 
repute, you know I have money of my own, and, what’s more, I 
may want to get married again.” 

“ Besides, you’ll be sent to the gallows.” 

“ To be sure, that unpleasantness also, though nowadays 
they admit many extenuating circumstances in the law courts. 
I’ll tell you a killing little anecdote, Alexey Ivanovitch. I 
thought of it this morning in the carriage. I wanted to tell you 
of it then. You said just now ‘ hangs on people’s necks.’ You 
remember, perhaps, Semyon Petrovitch Livtsov, he used to come 

and see us when you were in T ; well, his younger brother, 

who w^s also a young Petersburg swell, was in attendance on 

the governor at V , and he, too, was distinguished for various 

qualities. He had a quarrel with Golubenko, a colonel, in the 
presence of ladies and the lady of his heart, and considered 
himself insulted, but he swallowed the affront and concealed it ; 
and, meanwhile, Golubenko cut him out with the lady of his 
F 65 



heart and made her an offer. And what do you think? This 
Livtsov formed a genuine friendship with Golubenko, he quite 
made it up with him, and, what's more — insisted on being his 
best man, he held the wedding crown, and when they came 
from under the wedding crown, he went up to kiss and congratu- 
late Golubenko ; and in the presence of the governor and all the 
honourable company, with his swallow-tail coat, and his hair 
in ourl, he sticks the bridegroom in the stomach with a knife — 
so that he rolled over ! His own best man ! What a disgrace ! 
And, what’s more, when he’d stabbed him like that, he rushed 
about crying : ‘ Ach ! what have I done ! Oh, what is it I’ve 
done ! ’ with floods of tears, trembling all over, flinging liimself 
on people’s necks, even ladies. 4 Ah, what have I done ! ' he 
kept saying. 4 What have I done now ! ’ He — he — he ! he 
was killing. Though one feels sorry for Golubenko, perhaps, 
but after all he recovered.” 

44 I don’t see why you told me the story,” observed Vel- 
chaninov, frowning sternly. 

44 Why, all because he stuck the knife in him, you know,” 
Pavel Pavlovitch tittered; “ you can see he was not the type, 
but a snivelling fellow, since he forgot all good manners in his 
horror and flung himself on the ladies’ necks in the presence of 
the governor — but you see he stabbed him, he got his own 
back ! That was all I meant.” 

44 Go to hell ! ” Velchaninov yelled suddenly, in a voice not 
his own, as though something had exploded in him. “ Go to 
hell with your underground vileness ; you are nothing but under- 
ground vileness. You thought you’d scare me— you base man, 
torturing a child ; you scoundrel, you scoundrel, you scoundrel ! ” 
he shouted, beside himself, gasping for breath at every word. 

A complete revulsion came over Pavel Pavlovitch which 
actually seemed to sober him; his lips quivered. 

“ It is you, Alexey Ivanoviteh, call me a scoundrel, you call 
me?” 

But Velchaninov had already realized what he had done. 

“ I am ready to apologize,” he answered, after a pause of 
gloomy hesitation; “ but only if you will act straightforwardly 
at once yourself;” 

4 4 In your place I would apologize without any ifs, Alexey 
Ivanoviteh.” 

44 Very good, so be it,” said Velchaninov, after another slight 
pause. 44 1 apologize to you ; but you’ll admit yourself, Pavel 

66 



Pavlovitoh, that, after all this, I need not consider that I owe 
you anything. I’m speaking with reference to the whole matter 
and not only to the present incident.” 

“ That’s all right, why consider ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch sniggered, 
though he kept his eyes on the ground. 

11 So much the better, then, so much the better ! Finish your 
wine and go to bed, for I won’t let you go, anyway . . .” 

“ Oh, the wine . . .” Pavel Pavlovitch seemed, as it were, 
a little disconcerted. He went to the table, however, and 
finished the last glass of wine he had poured out so long 
before. 

Perhaps he had drunk a great deal before, for his hand trembled 
and he spilt part of the wine on the floor, and on his shirt and 
waistcoat. He finished it all, however, as though he could not 
bear to leave a drop, and respectfully replacing the empty glass 
on the table, he went submissively to his bed to undress. 

“ But wouldn’t it be better for me not to .stay the night ! ” 
he brought out for some reason, though he had taken off one 
boot and was holding it in his hand. 

“ No, it wouldn’t,” Velchaninov answered wrathfully, still 
pacing up and down the room without looking at him. 

Pavel Pavlovitch undressed and got into bed. A quarter of 
an hour later Velchaninov went to bed too, and put out the 
candle. 

He fell asleep uneasily. The new element that had turned 
up unexpectedly and complicated the whole business more than 
ever worried him now, and at the same time he felt that he was 
for some reason ashamed of his uneasiness. He was just dozitig 
off, but he was waked up all at once by a rustling sound, fie 
looked round at once towards Pavel Pavlovitch’s bed. The room 
was dark (the curtains were drawn), but Velchaninov fancied 
that Pavel Pavlovitch was not lying down, but was sitting on 
the bed. 

“ What’s the matter ? ” Velchaninov called to him. 

“ A ghost,” Pavel Pavlovitch said, scarcely audibly, after a 
brief pause. 

“ What do you mean, what sort of ghost ? ” 

" There in that room, I seem to see a ghost in the doorway.” 

“ Whose ghost ? ” Velchaninov asked again, after a pause. 

i4 Natalya Vassilyevna’s.” 

Velchaninov stood up on the rug, and looked across the 
passage, into the other room, the door of which always stood 

6 7 



open. There were only blinds, instead of curtains on the window, 
and so it was much lighter there. 

“ There’s nothing in that room and you are drunk. Go to 
bed ! ” said Velchaninov. He got into bed and wrapped himself 
in the quilt. 

Pavel Pavlovitch got into bed, too, without uttering a word. 

“ And have you ever seen ghosts before,” Velchaninov asked 
suddenly, ten minutes afterwards. 

Pavel Pavlovitch, too, was silent for a while. 

" I thought I saw one once,” he responded faintly. 

Silence followed again. 

Velchaninov could not have said for certain whether he had 
been asleep or not, but about an hour had passed — when he 
suddenly turned round again : whether he was roused again by a 
rustle — he was not sure, but felt as though in the pitch dark 
something white was standing over him, not quite close, but in 
the middle of the room. He sat up in bed and for a full minute 
gazed into the darkness. 

11 Is that you, Pavel Pavlovitch ? ” he said, in a failing voice. 

His own voice ringing out suddenly in the stillness and the 
dark seemed to him somehow strange. 

No answer followed, but there could be no doubt that some 
one was standing there. 

" Is that you . . . Pavel Pavlovitch ? ” he repeated, more 
loudly — so loudly, in fact, that if Pavel Pavlovitch had been 
quietly asleep in his bed he would certainly have waked up and 
answered. 

But again no answer came, yet he fancied that the white, 
hardly 'distinguishable figure moved nearer to him. Then 
something strange followed : something seemed to explode 
within him, exactly as it had that evening, and he shouted at 
the top of his voice, in a most hideous, frantic voice, gasping 
for breath at each word : 

"If you . . . drunken fool . . . dare to imagine . . . that 
you can . . . frighten me, I’ll turn over to the wall, I’ll put 
the bedclothes over my head, and won’t turn round again all 
night ... to show you how much I care ... if you were to 
stand there till morning . . . like a fool . . . and I spit upon 
you . . .” 

And he spat furiously in the direction, as he supposed, of 
Pavel Pavlovitch, turned over to the wall, drew the bedclothes 
over his head as he had said and grew numb in that position, 

68 



not stirring a muscle. A deathlike silence followed. Whether 
the phantom was moving nearer or standing still he could not 
tell* but his heart was beating, beating, beating violently. 
Fully five minutes passed, and suddenly, two steps from him, 
he heard the meek and plaintive voice of Pavel Pavlovitch. 

41 1 got up, Alexey Ivanovitch, to look for the . . .” (and he 
mentioned a quite indispensable domestic article). “ I didn’t 
find one there. ... I meant to look quietly under your bed.” 

“Why didn’t you speak when I shouted?” Velchaninov 
asked in a breaking voice, after an interval of half a minute. 

“ I was frightened, you shouted so. ... I was frightened.” 

“ There in the corner on the left, in the little cupboard, 
light the candle . . 

“ I can do without the candle,” Pavel Pavlovitch brought out 
meekly, making for the comer. “ Forgive me, Alexey Ivano- 
vitch, for disturbing you so. ... I was so bewildered . . .” 

But Velchaninov made no reply. He still lay with his face 
to the wall, and lay so all night, without once turning over. 
Whether it was that he wanted to do as he had said and so show 
his contempt, — he did not know hifnself what he was feeling ; his 
nervous irritability passed at last almost into delirium, and it 
was a long time before he went to sleep. Waking next morning 
between nine and ten, he jumped up and sat up in bed, as 
though some one had given him a shove, — but Pavel Pavlovitch 
was not in the room — the unmade bed stood there empty; he 
had crept away at dawn. 

“ I knew it would be so,” cried Velchaninov, slapping himself 
on the forehead. 


CHAPTER X 

IN THE CEMETERY 

The doctor’s fears turned out to be justified ; Liza was suddenly 
worse — worse than Velchaninov and Klavdia Petrovna had 
imagined possible the evening before. Velchaninov found the 
invalid conscious in the morning, though she was in a high feVer ; 
afterwards he declared that she had smiled and even held out 
her feverish little hand to him. Whether this was really so, or 
whether he had imagined it, in an unconscious effort to comfort 
himself, he had no time to make sure ; by nightfall the sick child 

69 



was unconscious, and she remained so till the end. Ten days 
after her coming to the Pogoryeltsevs she died. 

It was a sorrowful time for Velchaninov; the Pogoryeltsevs 
were very anxious about him. He spent those bitter days for 
the most part with them. During the last days of Liza’s illness 
he would sit for whole hours together in a comer apparently 
thinking of nothing; Klavdia Petrovna attempted to distract 
his mind, but he made little response, and seemed to find it a 
burden even to talk to her. Klavdia Petrovna had not expected, 
that “ all this would have such an effect upon him.” The children 
succeeded best in rousing him ; in their company he sometimes 
even laughed, but almost every hour he would get up from his 
chair and go on tiptoe to look at the invalid. He sometimes 
fancied that she recognized him. He had no hope of her re- 
covery, nor had any one, but he could not tear himself away 
from the room in which she lay dying, and usually Bat in the 
next room. 

On two occasions in the course of those days, however, he 
showed great activity : he roused himself and rushed off to 
Petersburg to the doctors, called on all the most distinguished 
of them, and arranged for a consultation. The second and last 
consultation took place the evening before Liza’s death. Three 
days before that Klavdia Petrovna urged upon Velchaninov the 
necessity of seeking out M. Trusotsky : pointing out that “ if the 
worst happened, the funeral would be impossible without him.” 
Velchaninov mumbled in reply that he would write to him. 
Pogoryeltsev thereupon declared that he would undertake to 
find him through the police. Velchaninov did finally write a 
note of two lines and took it to the Pokrovsky Hotel. Pavel 
Pavlovitch, as usual, was not at home, and he left the letter 
for him with Marya Sysoevna. 

At last Liza died, on a beautiful summer evening at sunset, 
and only then Velchaninov seemed to wake up. When they 
dressed the dead child in a white frock that belonged to one 
of Klavdia Petrovna’s daughters and was kept for festivals, 
and laid her on the table in the drawing-room with flowers 
in her folded hands, he went up to Klavdia Petrovna with 
glittering eyes, and told her that he would bring the “ murderer ” 
at once. Refusing to listen to their advice to put off going till 
next day, he set off for Petersburg at once. 

He knew where to find Pavel Pavlovitch; he had not only 
been to fetch the doctors when he went to Petersburg before. 

70 



He had sometimes fancied during those days that if he brought 
her father to Liza* and she heard his voice, she might come to 
herself ; so he had fallen to hunting for him like one possessed. 
Pavel Pavlovitch was in the same lodging as before, but it was 
useless for him to inquire there : “ he hasn’t slept here for the last 
three nights or been near the place,” Marya Sysoevna reported ; 
11 and if he does come he’s bound to be drunk, and before he’s 
been here an hour he’s off again ; he’s going to rack and ruin.” 
The waiter at the Pokrovsky Hotel told Velchaninov, among 
other things, that Pavel Pavlovitch used to visit some young 
women in Voznesensky Prospect. Velchaninov promptly looked 
up these young women. When he had treated them and made 
them presents these persons readily remembered their visitor, 
chiefly from the crape on his hat, after which, of course, they 
abused him roundly for not having be^n to see them again. 
One of them, Katya, undertook “ to find Pavel Pavlovitch any 
time, because nowadays he was always with Mashka Prostakov, 
and he had no end of* money, and she ought to have been Mashka 
Prohvostov (». e. scoundrelly) instead of Prostakov (t. e . simple), 
and she’d been in hospital, and if she (the speaker) liked she 
could pack the wench off to Siberia — she had only to say the 
word.” Katya did not, however, look up Pavel Pavlovitch on 
that occasion, but she promised faithfully to do so another 
time. It was on her help that Velchaninov was reckoning now. 

On reaching Petersburg at ten o’clock, he went at once to 
ask for her, paid the keeper to let her go, and set off to search 
with her. He did not know himself what he was going to do 
with Pavel Pavlovitch : whether he would kill him, or whether 
he was looking for him simply to tell him of his daughter’s death 
and the necessity of his presence at the funeral. At first they 
were unsuccessful. It turned out that this Mashka had had a 
fight with Pavel Pavlovitch two days before, and that a cashier 
“ had broken his head with a stool.” In fact, for a long time 
the search was in vain, and it was only at two o’clock in the 
afternoon that Velchaninov, coming out of an ‘ 4 establishment,” 
to which he had been sent as a likely place, unexpectedly hit 
up against him. 

Pavel Pavlovitch, hopelessly drunk, was being conducted to 
this “ establishment ” by two ladies ; one of whom was holding 
his arm and supporting him. They were followed by a tall, 
sturdy fellow, who was Bbouting at the top of his voice and 
threatening Pavel Pavlovitch with all sorts of horrors He 

71 



bawled among other things “ that Pavel Pavlovitch was exploit* 
ing him and poisoning his existence.” There seemed to have 
been some dispute about money; the women were much 
frightened and flustered. Seeing Velchaninov, Pavel Pavlovitoh 
rushed to him with outstretched hands and screamed as though 
he were being murdered : 

“ Brother, defend me ! ” 

At the sight of Velchaninov’s athletio figure the bully promptly 
disappeared; Pavel Pavlovitch in triumph shook his fist after 
him with a yell of victory ; at that point Velchaninov seized him 
by the shoulder in a fury, and, without knowing why he did it, 
shook him until his teeth chattered. Pavel Pavlovitch instantly 
ceased yelling and stared at his tormentor in stupid, drunken 
terror. Probably not knowing what to do with him next, 
Velchaninov folded him up and sat him on the curbstone. 

“ Liza is dead ! ” he said to him. 

Pavel Pavlovitch, still staring at Velchaninov, sat on the 
curbstone supported by one of the ladies. He understood at 
last, and his -face suddenly looked pinched. 

“ Dead . . .” he whispered strangely. Whether his face 
wore his loathsome, drunken grin, or whether it was contorted 
by some feeling, Velchaninov could not distinguish, but a 
moment later Pavel Pavlovitch, with an effort, lifted his trembling 
hand to make the sign of the cross ; his trembling hand dropped 
again without completing it. A little while after he slowly 
got up from the curbstone, clutched at his lady and, leaning 
upon her, went on his way, as though oblivious, — as though 
Velchaninov had not been present. But the latter seized him 
by the shoulder again. 

“ Do you understand, you drunken monster, that without 
you she can’t be buried ? ” he shouted breathlessly. 

Pavel Pavlovitch turned his head towards him. 

“The artillery . . . the lieutenant ... do you remember 
him ? ” he stammered. 

44 Wha — at ! ” yelled Velchaninov, with a sickening pang. 

“ There’s her father for you ! Find him — for the buriid.” 

41 You’re lying,” Velchaninov yelled like one distraught. 
44 You say that from spite. ... I knew you were preparing 
that for me.” 

Beside himself, he raised his terrible fist to strike Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch. In another minute he might have killed him at one 
blow ; the ladies squealed and were beating a retreat, but Pavel 

72 



Pavlovitch did not turn a hair. His face was contorted by 
a frenzy of ferocious hatred. 

“ Do you know,” he said, much more steadily, almost as 
though he were sober, “ our Russian . . . t (and he uttered an 
absolutely unprintable term of abuse) Well, you go to it, 
then ! ” 

Then with a violent effort he tore himself out of Velchaninov’s 
hands, stumbled and almost fell down. The ladies caught him 
and this time ran away, squealing and almost dragging Pavel 
Pavlovitch after them. Velchaninov did not follow them. 

On the afternoon of the next day a very presentable-looking, 
middle-aged government clerk in uniform arrived at the Pogor- 
yeltsevs’ villa and politely handed Klavdia Petrovna an envelope 
addressed to her by Pavel Pavlovitch Trusotsky. In it was a 
letter enclosing three hundred roubles and the legal papers 
necessary for the burial. Pavel Pavlovitch wTote briefly, 
respectfully, and most properly. He warmly thanked her 
excellency for the kind sympathy she had shown for the little 
motherless girl, for which God alone could repay her. He wrote 
vaguely that extreme ill-health would prevent him from coming 
to arrange the funeral of his beloved and unhappy daughter, 
and he could only appeal to the angelic kindness of her 
excellency’s heart. The three hundred roubles were, as he ex- 
plained later in the letter, to pay for the funeral, and the expenses 
caused by the child’s illness. If any of this money were left 
over he must humbly and respectfully beg that it might be spent 
on “ a perpetual mass for the rest of the soul of the departed.” 
The clerk who brought the letter could add nothing in explana- 
tion; it appeared, indeed, from what he said that it was only 
at Pavel Pavlovitch’s earnest entreaty that he had undertaken 
to deliver the letter to her excellency. Pogoryeltsev was almost 
offended at the expression “ the expenses caused by the child’s 
illness,” and after setting aside fifty roubles for the funeral — 
since it was impossible to prevent the father from paying for 
his child’s burial — he proposed to send the remaining two hundred 
and fifty roubles back to M. Trusotsky at once. Klavdia Petrovna 
finally decided not to send back the two hundred and fifty 
roubles, but only a receipt from the cemetery church for that 
sum in payment for a perpetual mass for the repose of the soul 
of the deceased maiden Elizaveta. This receipt was afterwards 
given to Velchaninov to be dispatched to Pavel Pavlovitch. 
Velchaninov posted it to his lodging. 

73 



After the funeral he left the villa. For a whole fortnight he 
wandered about the town aimless and alone, so lost in thought 
that he stumbled against people in the street. Sometimes he 
would lie stretched out on his sofa for days together, forgetting 
the commonest things of everyday life. Several times the 
Pogoryeltsevs went to ask him to go to them; he promised to 
go, but immediately forgot. Klavdia Petrovna even went her- 
self to see him, but did not find him at home. The same thing 
happened to his lawyer ; the lawyer had, indeed, something to 
tell him : his lawsuit had been very adroitly settled and his 
opponents had come to an amicable arrangement, agreeing to 
accept an insignificant fraction of the disputed inheritance. 
All that remained was to obtain Velchaninov's own consent. 
When at last he did find him at home, the lawyer was surprised 
at the apathy and indifference with which Velchaninov, once 
such a troublesome client, listened to his explanation. 

The very hottest days of July had come, but Velchaninov was 
oblivious of time. His grief ached in his heart like a growing 
abscess, and he was distinctly conscious of it and every moment 
with agonizing acuteness. His chief suffering was the thought 
that, before Liza had had time to know him, she had died, not 
understanding with what anguish he loved her ! The object in 
life of which he had had such a joyful glimpse had suddenly 
vanished into everlasting darkness. That object — he thought 
of it every moment now — was that Liza should be conscious of 
his love every day, every hour, all her life. “ No one has a 
higher object and no one could have,” he thought sometimes, 
with gloomy fervour. “ If there are other objects none can be 
holier 'than that ! ” “ By my love for Liza,” he mused, “ all 

my old putrid and useless life would be purified and expiated; 
to make up for my own idle, vicious and wasted life I would 
cherish and bring up that pure and exquisite creature, and for 
her sake everything would be forgiven me and I could forgive 
myself everything.” 

All these conscious thoughts always rose before his mind, 
together with the vivid, ever-present and ever-poignant memory 
of the dead child. He re-created for himself her little pale face, 
remembered every expression on it : he thought of her in the 
coffin decked with flowers, and as she had lain unconscious in 
fever, with fixed and open eyes. He suddenly remembered that 
when she was lying on the table he had noticed one of her fingers, 
which had somehow turned black during her illness; this had 

74 



struck him so much at the time, and he had felt so sorry for 
that poor little finger, that for the first time he thought of seeking 
out Pavel Pavlovitch and killing him ; until that time he had 
been “ as though insensible.” Was it wounded pride that had 
tortured her wounded heart, or was it those three months of 
suffering at the hands of her father, whose love had suddenly 
changed to hatred, who had insulted her with shameful words, 
laughing at her terror, and had abandoned her at last to strangers. 
All this he dwelt upon incessantly in a thousand variations. 
“ Do you know what Liza has been to me ? ” — he suddenly 
recalled the drunkard’s exclamation and felt that that exclama- 
tion was sincere, not a pose, and that there was love in it. “ How 
could that monster be so cruel to a child whom he had loved so 
much, and is it credible ? ” But every time he made haste to 
dismiss that question and, as it were, brush it aside ; there was 
something awful in that question, something he could not bear 
and could not solve. 

One day, scarcely conscious where he was going, he wandered 
into the cemetery where Liza was buried and found her little 
grave. He had not been to the cemetery since the funeral ; he 
had always fancied it would be too great an agony, and had 
been afraid to go. But, strange to say, when he had found 
her little grave and kissed it, his heart felt easier. It was a 
tine evening, the sun was setting ; all round the graves the lush 
green grass was growing ; the bees were humming in a wild rose 
close by ; the flowers and wreaths left by the children and Klavdia 
Petrovna on Liza’s grave were lying there with the petals half 
dropping. There was a gleam of something like hope in his 
heart after many days. 

“ How serene ! ” he thought, feeling the stillness of the ceme- 
tery, and looking at the clear, peaceful sky. 

A rush of pure, calm faith flooded his soul. 

“ Liza has sent me this, it’s Liza speaking to me,” he thought. 

It was quite dark when he left the cemetery and went home. 
Not far from the cemetery gates, in a low-pitchcd wooden house 
on the road, there was some sort of eating-house or tavern; 
through the windows he could see people sitting at the tables. 
It suddenly seemed to him that one of them close to the window 
was Pavel Pavlovitch, and that he saw him, too, and was staring 
at him inquisitively. He walked on, and soon heard some one 
pursuing him ; Pavel Pavlovitch was, in fact, running after him ; 
probably he had been attracted and encouraged by Velchaninov s 

75 



conciliatory expression as he watched him from the window. On 
overtaking him he smiled timidly, but it was not his old dirunken 
smile ; he was actually not drunk. 

“ Good-evening,” he said. 

41 Good-evening,” answered Velchaninov. 


CHAPTER XI 

PAVEL PAVLOVITCH MEANS TO MABRY 

As he responded with this “ good-evening,” he was surprised 
at himself. It struck him as extremely strange that he met 
this man now without a trace of anger, and that in his feeling 
for him at "that moment there was something quite different, 
and actually, indeed, a sort of impulse towards something new. 

“ What an agreeable evening,” observed Pavel Pavlovitch, 
looking into his face. 

44 You’ve not gone away yet,” Velchaninov observed, not by 
way of a question, but simply making that reflection aloud as 
he walked on. 

‘‘Things have dragged on, but — I’ve obtained a post with 
an increase of salary. I shall be going away the day after 
to-morrow for certain.” 

44 You’ve got a post ? ” he said this time, asking a question. 

44 Why shouldn’t I ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch screwed up his face. 

44 Oh, I only asked ...” Velchaninov said, disclaiming the 
insinuation, and, with a frown, he looked askance at Pavel 
Pavlpvitch. 

To his surprise, the attire, the hat with the crape band and 
the whole appearance of M. Trusotsky were incom parably more 
presentable than they had been a fortnight before. 

44 What was he sitting in that tavern for ? ” he kept 
wondering. 

44 1 was intending, Alexey Ivanovitch, to communicate with 
you on a subject for rejoicing,” Pavel Pavlovitch began again. 

“Rejoicing?” 

“ I’m going to get married.” 

44 What?” 

“ After sorrow comes rejoicing, so it is always in life ; I should 
be so gratified, Alexey Ivanovitch, if . . . but — I don’t know, 
perhaps you’re in a hurry now, for you appear to be 

76 


• • • 



“ Yes, I am in a hurry . . . and I’m unwell too.” 

He felt a sudden and intense desire to get rid of him; his 
readiness for some new feeling had vanished in a flash. 

“ I should have liked . . .” 

Pavel Pavlovitch did not say what he would have liked; 
Velchaninov was silent. 

“ In that case it must be later on, if only we meet again. . . 

“ Yes, yes, later on,” Velchaninov muttered rapidly, without 
stopping or looking at him. 

They were both silent again for a minute ; Pavel Pavlovitch 
went on walking beside him. 

“ In that case, good-bye till we meet again,” Pavel Pavlovitch 
brought out at last. 

‘‘Good-bye; I hope. . . .” 

Velchaninov returned home thoroughly upset again Con- 
tact with “ that man ” was too much for him. As he got into 
bed he -asked himself again : “ Why was he at the cemetery ? ” 

Next morning he made up his mind to go to the Pogoryeltsevs. 
He made up his mind to go reluctantly; sympathy from any 
one, even from the PogoryeltsevB, was too irksome for him now. 
But they were so anxious about him that he felt absolutely 
obliged to go. He suddenly had a foreboding that he would 
feel horribly ashamed at their first meeting again. 

Should he go or not, he thought, as he made haste to finish 
his breakfast ; when, to his intense amazement, Pavel Pavlovitch 
walked in. 

In spite of their meeting the day before Velchaninov could 
never have conceived that the man would come to see him 
again, and was so taken aback that he stared at him and did 
not know what to say. But Pavel Pavlovitch was equal to 
the occasion. He greeted him, and sat down on the very same 
chair on which he had sat on his last visit. Velchaninov 
had a sudden and peculiarly vivid memory of that visit, and 
gazed uneasily and with repulsion at his visitor. 

“You’re surprised?” began Pavel Pavlovitch, interpreting 
Velchaninov’s expression. 

He seemed altogether much more free and easy than on the 
previous day, and at the same time it could be detected that he 
was more nervous than he had been then. His appearance was 
particularly curious. M. Trusotsky was not only presentably 
but quite foppishly dressed — in a light summer jacket, light- 
coloured trousers of a smart, close-fitting cut, a light waistcoat ; 

77 



gloves, a gold lorgnette, which he had suddenly adopted for 
some reason. His linen was irreproachable; he even smelt of 
scent. About his whole get-up there was something ridiculous, 
and at the same time strangely and unpleasantly suggestive. 

41 Of course, Alexey Ivanovitch,” he went on, wriggling, 
44 I’m surprising you by coming, and I’m sensible of it. But 
there is always, so I imagine, preserved between people, and 
to my mind there should be preserved, something higher, 
shouldn’t there ? Higher, I mean, than all the conditions and 
even unpleasantnesses that may come to pass. . . . Shouldn’t 
there ? ” 

44 Pavel Pavlovitch, say what you have to say quickly, and 
without ceremony,” said Velchaninov, frowning. 

44 In a couple of words,” Pavel Pavlovitch began hastily, 

44 I’m going to get married and I am just setting off to see my 
future bride. They are in a summer villa too. I should like 
to have the great honour to make bold to introduce you to 
the family, and have come to ask an unusual favour” (Pavel 
Pavlovitch bent his head humbly), “to beg you to accompany 
me. ...” 

44 Accompany you, where ? ” Velchaninov stared with open 
eyes. 

44 To them, that is, to their villa. Forgive me, I am talking 
as though in a fever, and perhaps I’ve not been clear; but I’m 
so afraid of your declining.” 

And he looked plaintively at Velchaninov. 

44 Do you want me to go with you now to see your future 
bride ? ” Velchaninov repeated, scrutinizing him rapidly, unable 
tc believe his eyes or ears. 

44 Yes,” said Pavel Pavlovitch, extremely abashed. 44 Don’t 
be angry, Alexey Ivanovitch. It’s not impudence; I only beg 
you most humbly as a great favour. I had dreamed that you 
might not like, that being so, to refuse. . . .” 

“ To begin with, it’s utterly out of the question.” Velchaninov 
turned round uneasily. 

44 It is merely an intense desire on my part and nothing more,” 
Pavel Pavlovitch went on, imploring him. 44 1 will not conceal, 
either, that there are reasons for it, but I should have preferred 
not to have revealed them till later, and for the present to 
confine myself to the very earnest request. ...” 

And he positively got up from his seat to show his 
deference. 


78 



“ But in any case it is quite impossible, you must admit that 
yourself. . . 

Velchaninov, too, stood up. 

“ It is quite possible, Alexey Ivanovitch. I was proposing to 
present you as a friend ; and besides, you are an acquaintance 
of theirs already ; you see, it’s to Zahlebinin’s, to his villa. The 
civil councillor, Zahlebinin.” 

What ? ” cried Velchaninov. 

It was the civil councillor for whom he had been constantly 
looking for a month before, and had never found at home. He 
had, as it turned out, been acting in the interests of the other 
side. 

“Yes, yes; yes, yes,” said Pavel Pavlovitch, smiling and 
seeming to be greatly encouraged by Velchaninov’s great astonish - 
ment; “ the very man, you remember, whom you were walking 
beside, and talking to, while I stood opposite watching you ; I 
was waiting to go up to him when you had finished. Twenty 
years ago we were in the same office, and that day, when I meant 
to go up to him after you had finished, I had no idea of the sort. 
It occurred to me suddenly, only a week ago.” 

“ But, upon my word, they are quite a decent family,” said 
Velchaninov, in naive surprise. 

“ Well, what then, if they are ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch gnmaced. 

“ No; of course, I didn’t mean . . . only as far as I’ve observed 
when I was there ...” 

“They remember, they remember your being there,” Pavel 
Pavlovitch put in joyfully ; “ only you couldn’t have seen the 
family then ; but he remembers you and has a great esteem for 
you. We talked of you with great respect.” 

44 But when you’ve only been a widower three months ? ” 

“ But you see the wedding will not be at once ; the wedding 
will be in nine or ten months, so that the year of mourning will 
be over. I assure you that everything is all right. To begin 
with, Fedosey Petrovitch has known me frpm a boy ; he knew 
my late wife, he knows my style of living, and what people 
think of me, and what’s more, I have property, and I’m receiving 
a post with increase of salary — so all that has weight.” 

" Why, is it his daughter ? ” 

“ I will tell you all about it.” Pavel Pavlovitch wriggled 
Ingratiatingly. " Allow me to light a cigarette. And you’ll 
see her yourself to-day too. To begin with, such capable men 
cub Fedosey Petrovitch are sometimes very highly thought of 

79 



here in Petersburg, if they succeed in attracting notice. But 
you know, apart from his salary and the additional and supple- 
mentary fees, bonuses, hotel expenses, and moneys given in 
relief, he has nothing— that is, nothing substantial that could 
be called a capital. They are comfortably off, but there is no 
possibility of saving where there's a family . Only imagine : 
Fedosey Pet rovitch has eight girls, and only one son, still a 
child. If he were to die to-morrow there would be nothing left 
but a niggardly pension. And eight girls ! just imagine — only 
imagine — what it must run into simply for their shoes ! Of 
these eight girls five are grown up, the eldest is four-and-twenty 
(a most charming young lady, as you will see) and the sixth, a 
girl of fifteen, is still at the high school. Of course, husbands 
must be found for the five elder ones, and that ought to be done 
in good time, as far as possible, so their father ought to bring them 
out, and what do you suppose that will cost ? And then I turn up, 
the first suitor they have had in the house, and one they know all 
about, that I really have property, I mean. Well, that’s all.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch explained with fervour. 

“ You’re engaged to the eldest ? ” 

“ N — no, 1 ... no, not to the eldest ; you see, I’m proposing 
for the sixth, the one who is still at the high school.” 

“.What 1 ” said Velchaninov, with an involuntary smile. 

44 Why, you say she’s only fifteen ! ” 

“ Fifteen now; but in nine months she’ll be sixteen, she’ll be 
sixteen and three months, so what of it ? But as it would be 
improper at present, there will be no open engagement but only 
an understanding with the parents. ... I assure you that 
everything is all right ! ” 

“ Then it’s not settled yet ? ” 

“ Yes, it is settled, it’s all settled. I assure you, all is as it 
should be.” 

“ And does she know \ ” 

“ Well, it’s only in appearance, for the sake of propriety, that 
they are not telling her ; of course she knows.” Pavel Pavlovitch 
screwed up his eyes insinuatingly. “ Well, do you congratulate 
me, Alexey Ivanovitch \ ” Pavel Pavlovitch concluded very 
timidly. 

“ But what should I go there for ? However,” he added 
hurriedly, “ since I’m not going in any case, don’t trouble to 
find a reason.” 

“ Alexey Ivanovitch . . .” 


8o 



41 But do you expect me to get in besidfc you and drive off 
there with you. Think of it ! ” 

The feeling of disgust and aversion came back after the 
momentary distraction of Pavel Pavlovitch’s chatter about his 
future bride. In another minute he would have turned him 
out. He even felt angry with himself for some reason. 

44 Do, Alexey Ivanovitch, do, and you won’t regret it ! ” 
Pavel Pavlovitch implored him in a voice fraught with feeling. 
44 No, no, no ! ” — he waved his hands, catching an impatient 
and determined gesture from Velchaninov. 44 Alexey Ivano- 
vitch, Alexey Ivanovitch, wait a bit before you decide ! I see 
that you have perhaps misunderstood me. Of course, I know 
only too well that you cannot be to me, nor I to you . . . that 
we’re not comrades ; I am not so absurd as not to understand 
that. And that the favour I’m asking of you will not pledge 
you to anything in the future. And, indeed, I’m going away 
after to-morrow altogether, absolutely; just as though nothing 
had happened. Let this day be a solitary exception. I have 
come to you resting my hopes on the generosity of the special 
feelings of your heart, Alexey Ivanovitch — those feelings which 
might of late have been awakened. ... I think I’m speaking 
clearly, am I not ? ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch’s agitation reached an extreme point. 
Velchaninov looked at him strangely. 

44 You ask for some service from me?” he questioned, hesi- 
tatingly, 44 and are very insistent about it. That strikes me as 
suspicious ; I should like to know more about it.” 

44 The only service is that you should come with me. And 
afterwards, on our way back, I will unfold all to you as though 
at confession. Alexey Ivanovitch, believe me ! ” 

But Velchaninov still refused, and the more stubbornly because 
he was conscious of an oppressive and malignant impulse. This 
evil impulse had been faintly stirring within him from the very 
beginning, ever since Pavel Pavlovitch had talked of his future 
bride : whether it was simply curiosity, or some other quite 
obscure prompting, he felt tempted to consent. And the more 
he felt tempted, the more he resisted. He sat with his elbow 
on one hand, and hesitated. 

Pavel Pavlovitch beside him kept ooaxmg and persuading. 

44 Very good, I’ll come,” he consented all at once, uneasily and 
almost apprehensively, getting up from his seat. 

Pavel Pavlovitch was extremely delighted, 
o 8i 



“ But, Alexey Ivanovitch, you must change your clothes 
now,” Pavel Pavlovitch cajoled him, hanging gleefully about 
him ; “ put on your best suit.** 

44 And why must he meddle in this, too, strange fellow 1 ” 
Velchaninov thought to himself. 

44 This is rot the only service I’m expecting of you, Alexey 
Ivanovitch. Since you have given your consent, please be my 
adviser.” 

44 In what, for example ? ” 

“The great question, for instance, of crape. Which would 
be more proper, to remove the crape, or keep it on ? ” 

“ As you prefer.” 

“ No, I want you to decide ; what would you do yourself in 
my place, that is, if you had crape on your hat ? My own idea 
is that, if I retain it, it points to the constancy of my feelings, and 
so is a flattering recommendation.” 

“ Take it off, of course.” 

“ Do you really think it*s a matter of course ? ” Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch hesitated. 44 No, I think I had better keep it. . . .” 

44 As you like.” 

“ He doesn’t trust me, that’s a good thing,” thought Velcha- 
ninov. 

They went out; Pavel Pavlovitch gazed with satisfaction at 
Velchaninov’s smartened appearance; his countenance seemed 
to betray an even greater degree of deference and of dignity ! 
Velchaninov wondered at him and even more at himself. A very 
good carriage stood waiting for them at the gate. 

44 So you had a carriage all ready too ? So you felt sure I 
should 9ome ? ” 

44 1 engaged the carriage lor myself, but I did feel confident 
that you would consent to accompany me,” Pavel Pavlovitch 
replied, with the air of a perfectly happy man. 

44 Ah, Pavel Pavlovitch,” Velchaninov said, laughing as it were 
irritably when they were in the carriage and had set off; 
44 weren’t you too sure of me ? ” 

44 But it’s not for you, Alexey Ivanovitch, it’s not for you to 
tell me that I’m a fool for it,” Pavel Pavlovitch responded, in 
a voice full of feeling. 

44 And Liza,” thought Velchaninov, and at once hastened to 
dismiss the thought of her as though afraid of sacrilege. And 
it suddenly seemed to him that he was so petty, so insignificant 
at that moment ; it Btruck him that the thought that had tempted 

82 



him was a thought so small and nasty . . . and he longed again, 
at all costs, to fling it all up, and to get out of the carriage at 
once, even if he had to thrash Pavel Pavlovitch. But the latter 
began talking and the temptation mastered his heart again. 

44 Alexey Ivanovitch, do you know anything about jewels ? ” 

44 What sort of jewels ? ” 

44 Diamonds. 0 

41 Yes.’-’ 

44 1 should like to take a little present. Advise me, should I 
or not ? ” 

44 1 think you shouldn’t.” 

44 But I feel I should so like to,” returned Pavel Pavlovitch, 
44 only, what am I to buy ? A whole set, that is, a brooch, 
earrings, bracelets, or simply one article ? ” 

44 How much do you want to spend ? ” 

44 About four hundred or five hundred roubles.” 

44 Ough ! ” 

44 Is it too much, or what i ” asked Pavel Pavlovitch in a 
flutter. 

44 Buy a jingle bracelet for a hundred roubles.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch was positively mortified ; he was so eager to 
spend more and buy a ’ 4 whole set ” of jewels. He persisted. 
They drove to a shop. It ended, however, in his only buying a 
bracelet, and not the one that he wanted to, but the one that 
Velchaninov fixed upon. Pavel Pavlovitch wanted to take 
both. When the jeweller, who had asked a hundred and seventy- 
five roubles for the bracelet, consented to take a hundred and 
fifty for it, Pavel Pavlovitch was positively vexed; he would 
have paid two hundred if that sum had been asked, he was so 
eager to spend more. 

44 It doesn’t matter, does it, my being in a hurry with 
presents ? ” he gushed blissfully, when they had set off again 
44 They’re not grand people, they are very simple. The innocent 
creatures are fond of little presents,” he said, with a sly and 
good-humoured grin. 44 You smiled just now, Alexey Ivano- 
vitch, when you heard she was fifteen; but that’s just what 
bowled me over; that she was still going to school with the 
satchel on her arm full of copy-books and pens, he — he ! That 
satchel fascinated me ! It’s innocence that charms me, Alexey 
Ivanovitch; it’s not so muoh beauty of face, it’s that. She 
giggles in the corner with her school friend, and how she laughs, 
my goodness ! And what at ? It’s all because the kitten 

83 



jumped off the chest of drawers on to the bed and was curled 
up like a little ball. . . . And then there’s that scent of fresh 
apples ! Shall I take off the crape ? 99 

“ As you please.” 

“ I will take it off.” 

He took off his hat, tore off the crape and flung it in the road. 
Velchaninov saw that his face was beaming with the brightest 
hopes, as he replaced his hat upon his bald head. 

“ Can it be that he is really like this ? ” he thought, feeling 
genuinely angry ; “can it be there isn’t some trick in his inviting 
me ? Can he be really reckoning on my generosity ? ” he went 
on, almost offended at the last supposition. “ What is he — a 
buffoon, a fool, or the * eternal husband ’ — but it’s impossible I ” 


CHAPTER XII 

AT THE ZAHLEBININS* 

The Zahlebinins were really a “ very decent family,” as Vel- 
chaninov had expressed it, and Zahlebinin himself had an 
assured position in a government office and was well thought 
of by his superiors. All that Pavel Pavlovitch had said about 
their income was true too : “ They live very comfortably, but 
if he dies there’ll be nothing left.” 

Old Zahlebinin gave Velchaninov a warm and affable welcome, 
and his former “ foe ” seemed quite like a friend. 

“ I congratulate you, it was better so,” he began at the first 
word, with a pleasant and dignified air. “ I was in favour of 
settling it out of court myself and Pyotr Karlovitch (Vel- 
chaninov’s lawyer) is priceless in such cases. Well, you get 
sixty thousand without any bother, without delay and dispute ! 
And the case might have dragged on for three years ! ” 

Velchaninov was at once presented to Madame Zahlebinin, 
an elderly lady of redundant figure, with a very' simple and 
tired -looking face. The young ladies, too, began to sail in one 
after the other or in couples. But a very great many young 
ladies made their appearance ; by degrees they gathered to the 
number of ten or twelve — Velchaninov lost count of them; 
some came in, others went out. But among them several were 
girl friends from the neighbouring villas. The Zahlebinins’ 
villa, a large wooden house, built in quaint and whimsical style, 

84 



with parts added at different periods, had the advantage of a 
big garden ; but three or four other villas looked into the garden 
on different sides, and it was common property, an arrangement 
which naturally led to friendly relations among the girls of the 
different households. From the first words of conversation 
Velchaninov observed that he was expected, and that his arrival 
in the character of a friend of Pavel Pavlovitch, anxious to 
make their acquaintance, was hailed almost triumphantly. 

His keen and experienced eye quickly detected something 
special; from the over-cordial welcom o of the parents, from a 
certain peculiar look about the girls and their get-up (though, 
indeed, it was a holiday), from all that, the suspicion dawned 
upon him that Pavel Pavlovitch had been scheming and, very 
possibly, without, of course, saying it in so many words, had 
been suggesting a conception of him as a bachelor of property 
and of the “ best society ,” who was suffering from ennui and 
very, very likely to make up his mind to “ change his state 
and settle down,” especially as he had just come into a fortune. 
The manner and the appearance of the eldest Mademoiselle 
Zahlebinin, Katerina Fedosyevna, the one who was twenty-four 
and who had been described by Pavel Pavlovitch as a charming 
person, struck him as being in keeping with that idea. She was 
distinguished from her sisters by her dress and the original way 
in which her luxuriant hair was done. Her sisters and the other 
girls all looked as though they were firmly convinced that Vel- 
chaninov was making their acquaintance “ on Katya’s account ” 
and had come “ to have a look at her.” Their glances and 
even some words, dropped in the course of the day, confirmed 
him in this surmise. Katerina Fedosyevna was a tall blonde of 
generous proportions, with an exceedingly sw eet face, of a gentle, 
unenterprising, even torpid character. “ Strange that a girl 
like that should still be on hand,” Velchaninov could not help 
thinking, watching her with pleasure. “ Of course, she has no 
dowry and she’ll soon grow too fat, but meantime lots of men 
would admire her. ...” All the other sisters, too, were nice- 
looking, and among their friends there were several amusing 
and even pretty faces. It began to divert him ; he had come, 
moreover, with special ideas. 

Nadyezhda Fedosyevna, the sixth, the schoolgirl and Pavel 
Pavlovitch’s bride-elect, did not appear till later. Velchaninov 
awaited her coming with an impatience which surprised him 
and made him laugh at himself, At last she made her entrance, 

85 



and not without effect, accompanied by a lively, keen-witted 
girl friend, a brunette with a comical face whose name was 
Marie Nikititchna, and of whom, as was at once apparent, Pavel 
Pavlovitch stood in great dread. This Marie Nikititchna, a 
girl of twenty-three, with a mocking tongue and really clever, 
was a nursery governess in a friend’s family. She had long been 
accepted by the Zahlebinins as one of themselves and was thought 
a great deal of by the girls. It was evident that Nadya found 
her indispensable now. Velchaninov discerned at once that 
all the girls were antagonistic to Pavel Pavlovitch, even the 
friends, and two minutes after Nadya’s arrival he had made 
up his mind that she detested him. He observed, too, that Pavel 
Pavlovitch cither failed to notice this or refused to. 

Nadya was unquestionably the handsomest of the lot — a little 
brunette with a wild, untamed look and the boldness of a nihilist ; 
a roguish imp with blazing eyes, with a charming but often 
malicious smile, with wonderful lips and teeth, slender and 
graceful, her face still childlike but glowing with the dawn of 
thought. Her age was evident in every step she took, in every 
word she uttered. It appeared afterwards that Pavel Pavlovitch 
did see her for the first time with an American leather satchel on 
her arm, but this time she had not got it. 

The presentation of the bracelet was a complete failure, and, 
indeed, made an unpleasant impression. As soon as Pavel 
Pavlovitch saw’ his “ future bride ” come into the room he went 
up to her with a smirk. He presented it as a testimony “ of 
the agreeable gratification he had experienced on his previous 
visit on the occasion of the charming song sung by Nadyezhda 
Fedosyevna at the piano. . . He stammered, could not 
finish, and stood helpless, holding out the case with the bracelet 
and thrusting it into the hand of Nadyezhda Fedosyevna, who 
did not want to take it, and, crimson with shame and anger, 
drew back her hands. She turned rudely to her mother, whose 
face betrayed embarrassment, and said aloud : 

“ I don’t want to take it, maman ! ” 

* Take it and say thank you,” said her father, with calm 
severity : but he, too, was displeased. “ Unnecessary, quite 
unnecessary ! ” he muttered reprovingly to Pavel Pavlovitch. 

Nadya, seeing there was no help for it, took the case and, 
dropping her eyes, curtsied, as tiny children curtsy — that is, 
suddenly bobbed down, and popped up again as though on 
springs. One of her sisters went up to look at it and Nadya 

86 



handed her the case unopened, showing, for her part, that she 
did not care to look at it. The bracelet was taken out and 
passed from one to the other ; but they all looked at it in silence, 
and some oven sarcastically. Only the mother murmured that 
the bracelet was very charming. Pavel Pavlovitch was ready 
to sink into the earth. 

Velchaninov came to the rescue. 

He began talking, loudly and eagerly, about the first thing 
that occurred to him, and before five minutes were over he 
had gained the attention of every one in the drawing-room. 
He was a brilliant master of thp art of small talk — that is, the 
art of seeming perfectly frank and at the same time appearing 
to consider his listeners as frank as himself. Ho could, with 
perfect naturalness, appear when necessary to be the most 
light-hearted and happy of men. He was very clever, too, in 
slipping in a witty remark, a gibe, a gay insinuation or amusing 
pun, always as it were accidentally and as though unconscious of 
doing it — though the epigram or pun and the whole conversa- 
tion, perhaps, had been prepared and rehearsed long, long before 
and even used on more than one previous occasion. But at the 
present moment nature and art were at one, he felt that he w^as 
in the mood and that something was drawing him on ; he felt 
the most absolute confidence in himself and knew that in a few 
minutes all these eyes would be turned upon him, all these 
people would be listening only to him, talking to no one but him, 
and laughing only at what he said. And, in fact, the laughter 
soon came, by degrees the others joined in the conversation — 
and he was exceedingly clever in malting other people talk — 
three or four voices could be heard at once. The bored and 
weary face of Madame Zahlebinin was lighted up almost with 
joy; it was the same with Katerina Fedosyevna, who gazed and 
listened as though enchanted. Nadya watched him keenly 
from under her brows; it was evident that she was -prejudiced 
against him. This spurred him on the more. The “ mis- 
chievous ” Marie Nikititchna succeeded in getting in rather a 
good thrust at him; she asserted quite fictitiously that Pavel 
Pavlovitch had introduced him as the friend of his boyhood, 
so putting with obvious intent at least seven years on to his 
age. But even the malicious Marie Nikititchna liked him. 
Pavel Pavlovitch was completely nonplussed. He had, of 
course, some idea of his friend’s abilities and at first was de- 
lighted at his success; he tittered himself and joined in the 

87 



conversation ; but by degrees he seemed to sink into thought- 
fulness, and finally into positive dejection, which was clearly 
apparent in his troubled countenance. 

“ Well, you’re a visitor who doesn’t need entertaining/’ old 
Zahlebinin commented gaily, as he got up to go upstairs to his 
own room, where, in spite of the holiday, he had some business 
papers awaiting his revision ; “ and, only fancy, I thought of 
you as the most gloomy, hypochondriacal of young men. What 
mistakes one makes ! ” 

They had a piano; Velchaninov asked who played, and 
suddenly turned to Nadya : 

“ I believe you sing ? ” 

“ Who told you ? ” Nadya snapped out. 

" Pavel Pavlovitch told me just now.” 

" It’s not true. I only sing for fun. I’ve no voice.” 

“ And I’ve no voice either, but I sing.” 

“ Then you’ll sing to us ? Well, then, I’ll sing to you,” said 
Nadya, her eyes gleaming ; “ only not now, but after dinner. I 
can’t endure music/’ she added. “ I’m sick of the piano : they’re 
all singing and playing from morning to night here — Katya’s the 
only one worth hearing.” 

Velchaninov at once took this up, and it appeared that Katerina 
Fedosyevna was the only one who played the piano seriously. 
He at once begged her to play. Every one was evidently pleased 
at his addressing Katya, and the mamma positively flushed 
crimson with gratification. Katerina Fedosyevna got up, smiling, 
and went to the piano, and suddenly, to her own surprise, she 
flushed crimson and was horribly abashed that she, such a big 
girl, four-and-twenty and so stout, should be blushing like a 
child — and all this was written clearly on her face as she sat down 
to play. She played something from Haydn and played it care- 
fully though without expression, but she was shy. When she had 
finished Velchaninov began warmly praising to her, not her 
playing but Haydn, and especially the little thing which she 
had played, and she was evidently so pleased and listened so 
gratefully and happily to his praises, not of herself but of Haydn, 
that he could not help looking at her with more friendliness and 
attention ; “Ah, but you are a dear ! ” was reflected in the 
gleam of his eye — and every one seemed instantly to understand 
that look, especially Katerina Fedosyevna herseif . 

“ You have a delightful garden/’ he said, suddenly addressiilg 
the company and looking towards the glass door that led on to 

88 



the balcony. “What do yon say to our all going, into the 
garden ? ” 

" Let us, let us ! ” they shrieked joyfully, as though he had 
guessed the general wish. 

They walked in the garden till dinner-time. Madame Zahle- 
binin, though she had been longing to have a nap, could not 
resist going out with them, but wisely sat down to rest on the 
verandah, where she at once began to doze. In the garden 
Velchaninov and the girls got on to still more friendly terms. He 
noticed that several very young men from the villas joined them ; 
one was a student and another simply a high school boy. They 
promptly made a dash each for his girl, and it was evident that 
they had come on their account ; the third, a very morose and 
dishevelled -looking youth of twenty, in huge blue spectacles, 
began, with a frown, whispering hurriedly with Marie Nikititchna 
and Nadya. He scanned Velchaninov sternly, and seemed to 
consider it incumbent upon himself to treat him with extra- 
ordinary contempt. Some of the girls suggested that they 
should play games. To Velchaninov’s question, what games 
they played, they said all sorts of games, and catch-catch, but 
in the evening they would play proverbs — that is, all would sit 
down and one would go out, the others choose a proverb — for 
instance : “ More haste, less speed,” and when the one outside 
is called in, each in turn has to say one sentence to him. One, 
for instance, must say a sentence in which there is the word 
“ more,” the second, one in which there is the word “ haste,” 
and so on. And from their sentences he must guess the 
proverb. 

“ That must be very amusing,” said Velchaninov. 

" Oh, no, it’s awfully boring,” cried two or three voices at 
once. 

" Or else we play at acting,” Nadya observed, suddenly 
addressing him. “ Do you see that thick tree, round which 
there’s a seat : behind that tree is behind the scenes, and 
there the actors sit, say a king, a queen, a princess, a young 
man — just as any one likes; each one enters when he chooses 
and says anything that comes into his head, and that's the 
game.” 

“ But that’s delightful ! ” Velchaninov repeated again. 

f> Oh, no, it’s awfully dull ! At first it did turn out amusing, 
but lately it’s always been senseless, for no one knows how to 
end it; perhaps with you, though, it will be more interesting. 

89 



We did think .you were a friend of Pavel Pavlovitch’s, though, 
but it seems he was only bragging. I’m very glad you have 
come ... for one thing. . . /* 

She looked very earnestly and impressively at Velchaninov 
and at once walked away to Marie Nikititchna. 

“ We*r6 going to play proverbs this evening/* one of the girl 
friends whom Velchaninov had scarcely noticed before, and with 
whom he had not exchanged a word, whispered to him con- 
fidentially. “ They’re all going to make fun of Pavel Pavlovitch, 
and you will too, of course.** 

“Ah, how nice it is that you’ve come, we were all so dull/* 
observed another girl in a friendly way. She was a red-haired 
girl with freckles, and a face absurdly flushed from walking 
and the heat. Goodness knows where she had sprung from; 
Velchaninov had not noticed her till then. 

Pavel Pavlovitch’s uneasiness grew more and more marked. 
In the garden Velchaninov made great friends with Nadya. 
She no longer looked at him from under her brows as she had at 
first ; she seemed to have laid aside her critical attitude towards 
him, and laughed, skipped about, shrieked, and twice even 
seized him by the hand; she was extremely happy, she con- 
tinued to take not the slightest notice of Pavel Pavlovitch, and 
behaved as though she were not aware of his existence. Vel- 
chaninov felt certain that there was an actual plot against Pavel 
Pavlovitch; Nadya and the crowd of girls drew Velchaninov 
aside, while some of the other girl friends lured Pavel Pavlovitch 
on various pretexts in another direction; but the latter broke 
away from them, and ran full speed straight to them — that is, 
to Velchaninov and Nadya, and suddenly thrust his bald head 
in between them with uneasy curiosity. He hardly attempted 
to restrain himself ; the naiveii of his gestures and actions were 
sometimes amazing. H^b could not resist trying once more to 
turn Velchaninov’s attention to Katerina Fedosyevna; it was 
clear to her now that ht> had not come on her account, but was 
much more interested in Nadya ; but her expression was just as 
sweet and good-humoured as ever. She seemed to be happy 
simply at being beside them and listening to what their new 
visitor was saying; she, poor thing, could never keep up her 
share in a conversation cleverly. 

“ What a darling your sister Katerina Fedosyevna is ? ** 
Velchaninov said aside to Nadya. 

“ Katya 1 No one could have a kinder heart than she has. 

90 



She’s an angel to all of us. I adore her/’ the girl responded 
enthusiastically. 

At last dinner came at five o’clock ; and it was evident that 
the dinner, too, was not an ordinary meal, but had been prepared 
expressly for visitors. There were two or three very elaborate 
dishes, which evidently were not part of their ordinary fare, 
one of them so strange that no one could find a name for it. In 
addition to the everyday wine there was a bottle of Tokay, 
obviously for the benefit of the visitors; at the end of dinner 
champagne was brought in for some reason. Old Zahlebinin 
took an extra glass, became extraordinarily good-humoured and 
ready to laugh at anything Velchaninov said. 

In the end Pavel Pavlovitch could not restrain himself. 
Carried away by the spirit of rivalry he suddenly attempted 
to make a pun too; at the end of the table, where he was 
sitting by Madame Zahlebinin, there was a sudden roar of loud 
laughter from the delighted girls. 

44 Papa, papa ! Pavel Pavlovitch has made a pun too,” the 
fourth and fifth Zahlebinin girls shouted in unison. 44 He says 
we're 4 damsels who dazzle all. . . ” 

44 Ah, so he’s punning too ! well, what was his pun ? ” the 
old man responded sedately, turning patronizingly to Pavei 
Pavlovitch and smiling in readiness for the expected pun. 

11 Why, he says we’re 4 damsels who dazzle all.’ ” 

44 Y-yes, well, and what then ? ” The old man did not under- 
stand and smiled more good-humouredly in expectation. 

” Oh, papa, how tiresome you are ; you don’t understand. 
Why, 4 damsels ’ and then 4 dazzle ’ ; 4 damsel ’ is like 4 dazzle,’ 
'damsels who dazzle all. . . .’ ” 

44 A-a-ah,” the old man drawled in a puzzled voice. 44 H’m, 
well, he’ll make a better one next time ! ” 

And the old man laughed good-humouredly. 

44 Pavel Pavlovitch, you can’t have all the perfections at 
once,” Marie Nikititchna jerked aloud. 44 Oh, my goodness ! 
he’s got a bone in his throat,” she exclaimed, jumping up from 
her chair. 

There was a positive hubbub, but that was just what Marie 
Nikititchna wanted. Pavel Pavlovitch had simply chohtd over 
the wine which he was sipping to cover his confusion, but Marie 
Nikititchna vowed and declared that it was a 44 fish bone,” that 
she had seen it herself and that people sometimes died of it. 

14 Slap him on the nape of the nock,” some one shouted. 

9i 



“ Yes, really that's the best thing to do ! ” the old man 
approved aloud. 

Eager volunteers were already at him ; Marie Nikititchna and 
the red-haired girl (who had also been invited to dinner), and, 
finally, the mamma herself, greatly alarmed ; every one wanted 
to slap Pavel Pavlovitch on the back. Jumping up from the 
table, Pavel Pavlovitch wriggled away and was for a full minute 
asseverating that he had swallowed his wine too quickly and 
that the cough would soon be over, while the others realized that 
it was all a trick of Marie Nikititchna’s. 

“ But, really, you tease . , . ! ” Madame Zahlebinin tried to 
say sternly to Marie Nikititchna : but she broke down and 
laughed as she very rarely did, and that made quite a sensation 
of a sort. 

After dinner they all went out on the verandah to drink coffee. 

“ And what lovely days we’re having ! ” said the old man, 
looking with pleasure into the garden, and serenely admiring 
the beauties of nature. " If only we could have some rain. 
Enjoy yourselves and God bless you ! And you enjoy yourself 
too,” he added, patting Pavel Pavlovitch on the shoulder as he 
went out. 

When they had all gone out into the garden again, Pavel 
Pavlovitch suddenly ran up to Velchaninov and pulled him by 
the sleeve. 

“ Just one minute,” he whispered impatiently. 

They turned into a lonely side path. 

“ No, in this case, excuse me, no, I won’t give up . . ho 
stuttered in a furious whisper, clutching Velchaninov’s arm. 

“ What ? what ? ” Velchaninov asked, opening his eyes in 
amazement. 

Pavel Pavlovitch stared at him mutely, his lips moved, and 
he smiled furiously. 

“ Where are you going ? Where are you ? Everything’s 
ready,” they heard the ringing, impatient voices of the girls. 

Velchaninov shrugged his shoulders and returned to the rest 
of the party. 

Pavel Pavlovitch, too, ran after him. 

“ I’ll bet he asked you for a handkerchief,” said Marie Niki- 
titchna ; “ he forgot one last time too.” 

“ He’ll always forget it ! ” the fifth Zahlebinin girl put in. 

“ He's forgotten his handkerchief, Pavel Pavlovitch has for- 
gotten his handkerchief, mamma, Pavel Pavlovitch has forgotten 

92 



his pocket-handkerchief, mamma, Pavel Pavlovitch has a cold 
in his head again t ” cried voices. 

" Then why doesn’t he say so ! You do stand on ceremony, 
Pavel Pavlovitch ! ” Madame Zahlebinin drawled in a sing-song 
voice. “ It’s dangerous to trifle with a cold ; I’ll send you a 
handkerchief directly. And why has he always got a cold in 
his head ? ” she added, as she moved away, glad of an excuse 
for returning home. 

“ I have two pocket-handkerchiefs and I haven’t a cold in my 
head ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch called after her, but the lady ap- 
parently did not grasp what he said, and a minute later, when 
Pavel Pavlovitch was ambling after the others, keeping near 
Velchaninov and Nadya, a breathless maid-servant overtook 
him and brought him a handkerchief. 

“Proverbs, a game of proverbs,” the girls shouted on all 
sides, as though they expected something wonderful from “ a 
game of proverbs.” 

They fixed on a place and sat down on a seat ; it fell to Marie 
Nikititchna’s lot to guess; they insisted that she should go as 
far away as possible and not listen ; in her absence they chose a 
proverb and distributed the words. Marie Nikititchna returned 
and guessed the proverb at once. The proverb was : “ It’s no 
use meeting troubles half-way.” 

Marie Nikititchna was followed by the young man with dis- 
hevelled hair and blue spectacles. They insisted on even greater 
precautions with him — he had to stand in the arbour and keep 
his face to the fence. The gloomy young man did what was 
required of him contemptuously, and seemed to feel morally 
degraded by it. When he was called he could guess nothing, he 
went the round of all of them and listened to what they said twice 
over, spent a long time in gloomy meditation, but nothing came 
of it. They put him to shame. The proverb was : “ To pray 
to God and serve the Tsar ne’er fail of their reward.” 

“ And the proverb’s disgusting ! ” the exasperated young man 
exclaimed indignantly, as he retreated to his place. 

“ Oh, how dull it is 1 ” cried voices. 

Velchaninov went out; he was hidden even further off; he, 
too, failed to guess. 

“ Oh, how dull it is ! ” more voices cried. 

“ Well, now, I'll go out,” said Nadya. 

“No, no, let Pavel Pavlovitch go out now, it’s Pavel Pavlo- 
ritch’s turn,” they all shouted, growing more animated. 

93 



Pavel Pavlovitch was led away, right up to the fence in the 
very corner, and made to stand facing it, and that he might not 
look round, the red-haired girl was sent to keep watch on him. 
Pavel Pavlovitch, who had regained his confidence and almost 
his cheerfulness, was determined to do his duty properly and 
stood stock-still, gazing at the fence and not daring to turn 
round. The red-haired girl stood on guard twenty paces behind 
him nearer to the party in the arbour, and she exchanged signals 
with the girls in some excitement ; it was evident that all were 
expecting something with trepidation; something was on foot. 
Suddenly the red-haired girl waved her arms as a signal to the 
arbour. Instantly they all jumped up and ran off at breakneck 
speed. 

“ Run, you run, too.” a dozen voices whispered to Velchaninov, 
almost with horror at his not running. 

“ What's the matter? what has happened?” he asked, 
hurrying after them. 

“ Hush, don’t shout ! Let him stand there staring at the 
fence while we all run away. See, Nastya is running.” 

The red-haired girl (Nastya) was running at breakneck speed, 
waving her hands as though something extraordinary had 
happened. They all ran at last to the other side of the pond, 
the very opposite corner of the garden. When Velchaninov had 
got there he saw that Katerina Fedosyevna was hotly disputing 
with the others, especially with Nadya and Marie Nikititchna. 

“ Katya, darling, don’t be angry ! ” said Nadya, kissing her. 

“ Very well, I won’t tell mamma, but I shall go away myself, 
for it’s very horrid. What must he be feeling at the fence there, 
poor inan.” 

She went away — from pity, but all the others were merciless 
and as ruthless as before. They all insisted sternly that when 
Pavel Pavlovitch came back, Velchaninov should take no notice 
of him, as though nothing had happened. 

“ And let us all play catch-catch ! ” cried the red-haired girl 
ecstatically. 

It was at least a quarter of an hour before Pavel Pavlovitch 
rejoined the party. For two-thirds of that time he had certainly 
been standing at the fence. The game was in full swing, and was 
a great success — everybody was shouting and merry. Frantio 
with rage, Pavel Pavlovitch went straight up to Velchaninov and 
pulled at his sleeve again. 

” Just half a minute 1 ” 


94 



“ Good gracious, what does he wtfnt with his half minutes ! ” 

“He’s borrowing a handkerchief again,” was shouted after 
him once more. 

“ Well, this time it was you ; now it’s all yonr doing. . . 

Pavel Pavlovitch’s teeth chattered as he said this. 

Velchaninov interrupted him, and mildly advised him to be 
livelier, or they would go on teasing him. “ They tease you 
because you are cross, when all the rest are enjoying them- 
selves.” To his surprise, these words of advice made a great 
impression on Pavel Pavlovitch ; he subsided at once — so much 
so, in fact, that he went back to the party with a penitent air 
and submissively took his place in the game; after which they 
left him alone and treated him like the rest — and before hajf 
an hour had passed he had almost regained his spirits. In all 
the games when he had to choose a partner he picked out by 
preference the red-haired traitress, or one of the Zahlebinin 
sisters. But to his still greater surprise Velchaninov noticed 
that Pavel Pavlovitch did not dare try to speak to Nadya, 
although he continually hovered about her. At any rate he 
accepted his position, as an object of scorn and neglect to her, 
as though it were a fitting and natural thing. But towards the 
end they played a prank upon him again. 

The game was 14 hide-and-seek.” The one who hid, however, 
was allowed to run anywhere in the part of the garden allotted 
him. Pavel Pavlovitch, who had succeeded in concealing him- 
self completely in some thick bushes, conceived the idea of 
running out and making a bolt for the house. He was seen 
and shouts were raised ; he crept hurriedly upstairs to the first 
floor, knowing of a place behind a chest of drawers, where he 
could hide. But the red-haired girl flew up after him, crept on 
tiptoe to the door and turned the key on him. AU left off play- 
ing and ran just as they had done before to the other side of the 
pond, at the further end of the garden. Ten minutes later, 
Pavel Pavlovitch, becoming aware that no one was looking for 
him, peeped out of the window. There was no one to be seen. 
He did not dare to call out for fear of waking the parents ; the 
maids had been sternly forbidden to answer Pavel Pavlovitch’s 
call or go to him. Katerina Fedosyevna might have unlocked 
him, but, returning to her room and sitting down to dream a 
little, she had unexpectedly fallen asleep too. And so he stayed 
there about an hour. At last the girls came, as it were by chance, 
in twos or threes. 


95 



44 Pavel Pavlovitch, why don’t you come out to us? Oh, it 
has been fun ! We’ve been playing at acting. Alexey Ivanovitch 
has been acting 4 a young man.’ ” 

44 Pavel Pavlovitch, why don’t you come t we want to admire 
you ! ” others observed as they passed. 

44 Admire what now ? ” they suddenly heard the voice of 
Madame Zahlebinin, who had only just woken up and made up 
her mind to come out into the garden and watch the 44 children’s ” 
games while waiting for tea. 

44 But here’s Pavel Pavlovitch,” they told her, pointing to the 
window where Pavel Pavlovitch’s face, pale with anger, looked 
out with a wry smile. 

44 It’s an odd fancy for a man to sit alone, when you’re all 
enjoying yourselves ! ” said the mamma, shaking her head. 

Meanwhile, Nadya had deigned to give Velchaninov an ex- 
planation of her words that she 44 was glad he had come for one 
reason.” 

The explanation took place in a secluded avenue. Marie 
Nikititchna purposely summoned Velchaninov, who was taking 
part in some game and was horribly bored, and left him alone 
in the avenue with Nadya. 

44 1 am absolutely convinced,” she said boldly, in a rapid 
patter, 44 that you are not such a great friend of Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch’s as he boasted you were. I am reckoning on you as the 
one person who can do me a very great service.” She took the 
case out of her pocket. 44 1 humbly beg you to give this back 
to him at once, as I shall never speak to him again in my life. 
You can say so from me, and tell him not to dare to force his 
company and his presents on me. I’ll let him know the rest 
through other people. Will you be so kind as to do what I 
want ? ” 

44 Oh, for mercy’s sake, spare me ! ” Velchaninov almost cried 
out, waving his hand. 

44 What ? spare you ? ” Nadya was extraordinarily surprised 
at his refusal, and she gazed at him round-eyed. 

The tone she had assumed for the occasion broke down im- 
mediately, and she was almost in tears. 

Velchaninov laughed. 

44 1 don’t mean that. ... I should be very glad . . . but I 
have my oym account to settle with him. . . .” 

44 1 knew that you were not his friend and that he was telling 
lies 1 ” Nadya interrupted quickly and passionately. 44 I’ll 

96 



never marry him, I tell you ! Never ! I can’t understand 
how he could presume. . . Only you must give him back his 

disgusting present or else what shall I do? I particularly, 
particularly want him to have it back to-day, the same day, 
so that his hopes may be crushed, and if he sneaks about it to 
papa he shall see what he gets by it.” 

And from behind the bushes there suddenly emerged the young 
man in the blue spectacles. 

44 It’s your duty to return the bracelet,” he blurted out 
furiously, pouncing on Velchaninov. 44 If only from respect for 
the rights of women, that is — if you are capable of rising to the 
full significance of the question.” 

But before he had time to finish Nadya tugged at his sleeve 
with all her might, and drew him away from Velchaninov. 

44 My goodness, how silly you are, Predposylov ! ” she cried. 
44 Go away, go away, go away, and don’t dare to listen ; I told 
you to stand a long way off . . . ! ” She stamped her little 
foot at him, and when he had crept back into the bushes she 
still walked up and down across the path, with her eyes flashing 
and her arms folded before her, as though she were beside herself 
with anger. 

44 You wouldn’t believe how silly they are ! ” She stopped 
suddenly before Velchaninov. 44 It amuses you, but think what 
it means to me.” 

“ That’s not he , it’s not he, is it ? ” laughed Velchaninov. 

44 Of course it isn’t, and how could you imagine it 1 ” cried 
Nadj r a, smiling and blushing. 44 That’s only his friend. But I 
can’t understand the friends he chooses ; they all say that he’s 
a 4 future leader,’ but I don’t understand it. . . . Alexey Ivano- 
vitch, I’ve no one I can appeal to ; I ask you for the last time, 
will you give it back ? ” 

44 Oh, very well, I will ; give it me.” 

44 Ah, you are kind, you are good ! ” she cried, delighted, 
handing him the case. 44 I’ll sing to you the whole evening for 
that, for I sing beautifully, do you know. I told you a fib when 
I said I didn’t like music. Oh, you must come again — once at 
any rate ; how glad I should be. I would tell you everything, 
everything, everything, and a great deal more besides, because 
you’re so kind — as kind, as kind, as — as Katya l ” 

And when they went in to tea she did sing him two songs, in 
an utterly untrained and hardly mature, but pleasant and power- 
ful voice. When they came in from the garden Pavel Pavlovitch 



was stolidly sitting with the parents at the tea-table, on which 
the big family samovar was already boiling, surrounded by cups 
of Sevres china. He was probably discussing very grave matters 
with the old people, as two days later he was going away for nine 
whole months. He did not glance at the party as they came in 
from the garden, and particularly avoided looking at Velchaninov. 
It was evident, too, that he had not been sneaking and that all 
was serene so far. 

But when Nadya began singing he put himself forward at 
once. Nadya purposely ignored one direct question he ad- 
dressed her, but this did not disconcert Pavel Pavlovitch, or 
make him hesitate. He stood behind her chair and his whole 
manner showed that this was his place and he was not going to 
give it up to any one. 

“ Alexey Ivanovitch sings, mamma ; Alexey Ivanovitch wants 
to sing, mamma ! ” almost all the girls shouted at once, crowding 
round the piano at which Velchaninov confidently installed him- 
self, intending to play his own accompaniment. The old people 
came in, and with them Katerina Fedosyevna, who had been 
sitting with them, pouring out the tea. 

Velchaninov chose a song of Glinka’s, now familiar to almost 
every one — 

"In the glad hour when from thy lips 
Come murmurs tender as a dove’s. 

He sang it, addressing himself entirely to Nadya, who was 
standing at his elbow nearer to him than any one. His voice 
had passed its prime, but what was left of it showed that it had 
once been a fine one. Velchaninov had, twenty years before, 
when he was a student, the luck to hear that song for the first 
time sung by Glinka himself, at the house of a friend of the 
oomposer’s. It was at a literary and artistic bachelor gathering, 
and Glinka, growing expansive, played and sang his own favourite 
compositions, among them this song. He, too, had little voice 
left then, but Velchaninov remembered the great impression 
made by that song. A drawing-room singer, however skilful, 
would never have produced such an effect. In that song the 
intensity of passion rises, mounting higher and higher at every 
line, at every word ; and, from this very intensity, the least trace 
of falsity, of exaggeration or unreality, such as passes muster so 
easily at an opera, would distort and destroy the whole value of 
it. To sing that slight but exceptional song it was essential to* 

9 3 



have truth, essential to have real inspiration, real passion, or 
a complete poetical comprehension of it. Otherwise the song 
would not only be a failure but might even appear unseemly 
and almost shameless : without them it would be impossible to 
express such intensity of passion without arousing repulsion, 
but truth and simplicity saved it. Velchaninov remembered 
that he had made a success with this song on some occasion. He 
had almost reproduced Glinka's manner of singing, but now, from 
the first note, from the first line, there was a gleam of inspiration 
in his singing which quivered in his voice. 

At every word the torrent of feeling was more fervent and 
more boldly displayed; in the last lines the cry of passion is 
heard, and when, with blazing eyes, Velchaninov addressed the 
last words of the song to Nadya — 

“Grown bolder, in thine eyes I gaze; 

Draw close my lips, can hear no moro, 

I long to kiss thee, kiss thee, kiss thee ! 

I long to kiss thee, kiss thee, kiss thee ! ” 

she trembled almost with alarm, and even stepped back; the 
colour rushed into her cheeks, and at the same time Velchaninov 
seemed to catch a glimpse of something responsive in her abashed 
and almost dismayed little face. The faces of all the audience 
betrayed their enchantment and also their amazement : all 
seemed to feel that it was disgraceful and impossible to sing like 
that, and yet at the same time all their faces were flushed and all 
their eyes glowed and seemed to be expecting something more. 
Among those faces Velchaninov had a vision especially of the 
face of Katerina Fedosyevna, which looked almost beautiful. 

“ What a song,” old Zahlebinin muttered, a little flabber- 
gasted; “but . . . isn’t it too strong ? charming, but strong. . .” 

“ Yes . . .” Madame Zahlebinin chimed in, but Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch would not let her go on ; he dashed forward suddenly like 
one possessed, so far forgetting himself as to seize Nadya by the 
arm and pull her away from Velchaninov ; he skipped up to him, 
gazed at him with a desperate face and quivering lips that moved 
without uttering a sound. 

“ Half a minute,” he uttered faintly at last. 

Velchaninov saw that in another minute the man might be 
guilty of something ten times as absurd ; he made haste to take 
his arm and, regardless of the general amazement, drew him 
out into the verandah, and even took some steps into the garden 
with him, where it was now almost dark. 

99 



“ Do you understand that you must go away with me this 
minute ! ” said Pavel Pavlovitch. 

“ No, I don’t understand. . . .” 

" Do you remember,” Pavel Pavlovitch went on, in his frenzied 
whisper, “ do you remember that you insisted that I should tell 
you everything, everything openly, * the very last word . . 
do you remember ? Well, the time has oome to say that word 
... let us go ! ” 

Velchaninov thought a minute, looked at Pavel Pavlovitch, 
and agreed to go. 

The sudden announcement of their departure upset the parents, 
and made all the girls horribly indignant. 

“ At least have another cup of tea,” said Madame Zahlebinin 
plaintively,. 

“ Come, what's upset you ? ” old Zahlebinin said in a tone of 
severity and displeasure, addressing Pavel Pavlovitch, who stood 
simpering and silent. 

“ Pavel Pavlovitch, why are you taking Alexey Ivanoviteh 
away?” the girls began plaintively, looking at him with 
exasperation. 

Nadya gazed at him so wrathfully that he positively squirmed, 
but he did not give way. 

“ You see, Pavel Pavlovitch has reminded me — many thanks 
to him for it — of a very important engagement which I might 
have missed,” Velchaninov said, smiling, as he shook hands with 
Zahlebinin, and bowed to the mamma and the girls, especially 
distinguishing Katerina Fedosyevna in a manner apparent 
to all. • 

u We are very grateful for your visit and shall always be glad 
to see you,” Zahlebinin said ponderously, in conclusion. 

“ Ah, we shall be so delighted • . the mamma chimed in 
with feeling. 

“ Come again, Alexey Ivanoviteh, come again ! ” numerous 
voices were heard calling from the verandah, when he had already 
got into the carriage with Pavel Pavlovitch ; there was perhaps 
one voice that called more softly than the others, “ Come again, 
dear, dear Alexey Ivanoviteh.” 

” That’s the red-haired girl,” thought Velchaninov, 


100 



CHAPTER Xin 

ON WHOSE SIDE MOST? 

He might think about the red-haired girl, and yet his soul was 
in agonies of vexation and remorse. And, indeed, during the 
whole of that day, which seemed on the surface so amusingly 
spent, a feeling of acute depression had scarcely left him. Before 
singing the song he did not know how to get away from it; 
perhaps that was why he had sung it with such fervour. 

“And I could demean myself like that . . . tear myself 
away from everything/ * he began reproaching himself, but he 
hurriedly cut short his thoughts. Indeed, it seemed to him 
humiliatifig to lament ; it was a great deal more pleasant to be 
angry with some one. 

“ Fool ! ” he whispered wrathfully, with a side glance at the 
silent figure of Pavel Pavlovitch sitting beside him in the 
carriage. 

Pavel Pavlovitch remained obstinately silent, perhaps concen- 
trated on preparing what he had got to say. With an impatient 
gesture he sometimes took off his hat and wiped his brow with 
his handkerchief. 

“ Perspiring ! ” Velchaninov thought spitefully. 

On one occasion only Pavel Pavlovitch addressed a question 
to the coachman. “ Is there going to be a storm ? ” he asked. 

“Storm, indeed! Not a doubt of it; it’s been brewing up 
all day.” 

The sky was indeed growing dark and there were flashes of 
lightning in the distance. 

They reached the town about half-past ten. 

“ I am coming in with you, of course,” Pavel Pavlovitch warned 
him,, not far from the house. 

“I understand, but I must tell you that I feel seriously 
unwell/' 

“ I won’t stay, I won’t stay long.” 

When they went in at the gate, Pavel Pavlovitch ran in at 
the porter’s lodge to find *Mavra. 

“ What were you running off there for ? ” Velchaninov said 
sternly, as the latter overtook him and they went into the 
room. 

“ Oh . . . nothing . ♦ . the driver . . 

ioi 



“ I won’t have you drink ! ” 

No answer followed. Velchaninov lighted the candle, and 
Pavel Pavlovitch at once sat down on the chair. Velchaninov 
remained standing before him, with a frown on his face. 

“I, too, promised to say my ‘last’ word,” ho began, with 
an inward, still suppressed irritation. “ Here it is — that word : 
I consider on my conscience that everything between us is 
over, so that, in fact, there is nothing for us to talk about — do 
you hear? — nothing; and so wouldn’t it be better for you to 
go away at once, and I’ll cJose the door after you ? ” 

“ Let us settle our account, Alexey Ivanovitch,” said Pavel 
Pavlovitch, looking in his face, however, with peculiar mildness. 

“ Set-tie our ac-count ! ” repeated Velchaninov, greatly 
surprised. “ That’s a strange thing to say 1 Settle what 
account ? Bah ! Isn’t that perhaps that ‘ last word ’ you 
promised ... to reveal to me ? ” 

“ It is.” 

“ We’ve no account to settle ; we settled our account long 
ago ! ” Velchaninov pronounced proudly. 

“Can you really think so? ” Pavel Pavlovitch brought out 
in a voice full of feeling, clasping his hands strangely and holding 
them before his breast. 

Velchaninov made him no answer, but continued pacing up 
and down the room. “ Liza ! Liza ! ” he was moaning in his 
heart. 

“ What did you want to settle, though ? ” he asked him, 
frowning, after a rather prolonged silence. 

Pavel Pavlovitch had been following him about the room 
with his eyes all this time, still holding his hands clasped before 
him. 

“ Don’t go there again,” he almost whispered in a voice of 
entreaty, and he suddenly got up from his chair. 

What ! So that’s all you are thinking about ? ” Velchaninov 
laughed spitefully. “ You’ve surprised me all day, though ! ” 
he was beginning malignantly, but suddenly his whole face 
changed. ^ Listen,” he said mournfully, with deep and sincere 
feeling ; I consider that I have never lowered myself as I have 
to-day to begin with, by consenting to go with you, and then — 
by what happened there. ... It was so paltry, so pitiful. . . . 
I’ve defiled and debased myself by mixing myself up in it . . . 
and forgetting ... But there ! ” he cried hastily. “ Listen, 
you attacked me to-day in an unguarded moment* when I w a s 

102 



nervous and ill . . . but there’s no need to justify myself ! 
I’m not going there again, and I assure you I take no interest 
in them whatever,” he concluded resolutely. 

41 Really, really ? ” cried Pavel Pavlovitch, not disguising his 
relief and excitement. 

Velchaninov looked at him contemptuously, and began pacing 
up and down the room again. 

44 You seem to have made up your mind to be happy ? ” he 
could not refrain from observing. 

44 Yes,” Pavel Pavlovitch repeated naively, in a low voice. 

44 What is it to me,” Velchaninov reflected, 44 that he’s a 
buffoon and only spiteful through stupidity ? I can’t help 
hating him, though he isn’t worth it ! ” 

44 1 am 4 the eternal husband ’ ! ” said Pavel Pavlovitch, with 
an abjectly submissive smile at his own expense. 44 1 heard 
that expression from you, Alexey Ivanovitch, long ago, when 
you were staying with us in those days. I remember a great 
many of your sayings in that year. Last time, when you said 
here, 4 the eternal husband,’ I reflected.” 

Mavra came in with a bottle of champagne and two glasses. 

44 Forgive me, Alexey Ivanovitch ; you know that I can’t get 
on without it ! Don’t think it’s impudence ; look upon me as 
an outsider not on your level.” 

“Yes . . .” Velchaninov muttered with repugnance, 44 but I 
assure you I feel unwell. ...” 

44 Directly . . . directly ... in one minute,” said Pavel 
Pavlovitch fussily ; 44 just one little glass because my throat . . .” 

He greedily tossed off a glassful at a gulp and sat down, 
looking almost tenderly at Velchaninov. 

Mavra went out. 

44 How beastly ! ” Velchaninov murmured. 

4,4 It’s only those girl friends,” Pavel Pavlovitch said con- 
fidently, all of a sudden completely revived. 

44 What ? Ah, yes, you are still at that . . .” 

44 It’s only those girl friends ! And then she’s so young ; 
we have our little airs and graces ! They’re charming, in fact. 
But then — then, you know, I shall be her slave; when she’s 
treated with deference, when she sees something of society . . . 
she’ll be transformed.” 

44 1 shall have to give him back that bracelet, though,” thought 
Velchaninov, scowling, as he felt the case in his pocket. 

44 You say that I’m resolved to be happy 1 I must get 

103 



married, Alexey Ivanovitch,” Pavel Pavlovitch went on con- 
fidentially and almost touchingly, “ or what will become of me ? 
You see for yourself l ” He pointed to the bottle. “ And 
that’s only one-hundredth of my vices. I can’t get on at all 
without marriage and — without new faith; I shall have faith 
and shall rise up again.” 

“ But why on earth do you tell me this ? ” Velchaninov asked, 
almost bursting with laughter. It all struck him as wild. “ But 
tell me,” he cried, “ what was your objeot in dragging me out 
there ? What did you want me there for ? ” 

“As a test . Pavel Pavlovitch seemed suddenly 

embarrassed. 

11 A test of what ? ” 

“ The effect. . . . You see, Alexey Ivanovitch, it’s only a 
week altogether . . . I’ve been looking round there ” (Pavel 
Pavlovitch grew more and more confused). “ Yesterday I met 
you. and thought : ‘ I’ve never yet seen her in outside, so to 
say, society, that is, in men’s, except my own. . . .’ A stupid 
idea; I feel that myself now; unnecessary. I expected too 
much . . . it’s my horrible character. . . .” 

He suddenly raised his head and flushed crimson. 

“ Can he be telling the whole truth ? ” Velchaninov was 
petrified with surprise. 

“ Well, and what then? ” he asked. 

Pavel Pavlovitch gave a sugary and, as it were, crafty smile. 

“ It’s only charming childishness ! It’s all those girl friends ! 
Only forgive me for my stupid behaviour before you to-day, 
Alexey Ivanovitch ; I never will again; and indeed it will never 
happen again.” 

“ And I shan’t be there again,” said Velchaninov, with a 
smile. 

“ That’s partly what I mean.” 

Velchaninov felt a little piqued. 

“ But I’m not the only man in the world, you know,” ho 
observed irritably. 

Pavel Pavlovitch flushed again. 

“ It’s sad for me to hear that, Alexey Ivanovitch, and, believe 
me, I’ve such a respect for Nadyezhda Fedosyevna . . 

“Excuse me, excuse me, I didn’t mean anything; it only 
seems a little strange to me that you have such an exaggerated 
idea of my attractions . . . and . , . such genuine confidence 
in me.” 


104 



• • • 


“ I had such confidence just because it was after all 
that happened' in the past.” 

“ Then if so, you look upon me even now as a most honourable 
man! ” said Velchaninov, suddenly halting. 

At another time he would have been horrified at the natvett 
of his own question. 

“ I always thought you so/' said Pavel Pavlovitch, dropping 
his eyes. 

“ Why, of course. ... I didn’t mean that; that is, not in 
that sense. I only meant to say that, in spite of any . . . 
preconceptions ...” 

” Yes, in spite of preconceptions.” 

“ When you came to Petersburg ? ” Velchaninov could not 
resist asking, though he felt how utterly monstrous was his 
curiosity. 

“ When I came to Petersburg, too, I looked upon you as the 
most honourable of men. I always respected you, Alexey 
Ivanovitch.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch raised his eyes and looked candidly, without 
a trace of embarrassment, at his opponent. Velchaninov was 
suddenly panic-stricken ; he was not at all anxious that anything 
should happen, or that anything should overstep a certain line, 
especially as he had provoked it. 

“ I loved you, Alexey Ivanovitch,” Pavel Pavlovitch articu- 
lated, as though he had suddenly made up his mind to speak, 

11 and all that year at T I loved you. You did not notice 

it,” he went on, in a voice that quivered, to Velchaninov’s 
positive horror; “ I was too insignificant, compared with you, to 
let you see it. And there was no need, indeed, perhaps. And 
I’ve thought of you all these nine years, because there has never 
been another year in my life like that one ” (Pavel Pavlovitch’s 
eyes began to glisten). “ I remembered many of your phrases 
and sayings, your thoughts. I always thought of you as a 
man with a passion for every noble feeling, a man of education, 
of the highest education and of ideas : ‘ Great ideas spring not 
so much from noble intelligence as from noble feeling.’ You said 
that yourself ; perhaps you’ve forgotten it, but I remembered it. 
I always looked on you, therefore, as a man of noble feeling . • • 
and therefore believed in you — in spite of anything . . ” 

His chin suddenly began quivering. Velchaninov was in 
absolute terror; this unexpected tone must be cut short at all 
costs. 



“ That’s enough, Pavel Pavlovitch, please,” he muttered, 
flushing and irritably impatient. “ And why,” he screamed 
suddenly, “ why do you fasten upon a man when he is nervous 
and ill, when he is almost delirious, and drag him into this 
darkness . . . when it’s . . . when it’s — nothing but delusion, 
mirage, and falsity, and shameful, and unnatural, and— exag- 
gerated — and that's what's worst, that's what's most shameful 
— that it is so exaggerated ! And it's all nonsense ; we are both 
vicious, underground, loathsome people. . . . And if you like 
I'll prove that you don't like me at all, but hate me with all 
your might, and that you're lying, though you don’t know it; 
you insisted on taking me there, not with the absurd object 
of testing your future bride (what an idea l) ; you saw me yester- 
day and felt vindictive , and took me there to show me and say 
to me, ‘ See what a prize ! She will be mine ; do your worst 
now ! ’ You challenged me, perhaps you didn't know it your- 
self; that’s how it was, for that’s what you were feeling . . . 
and without hating me you couldn’t have challenged me like 
that; and so you hate me ! " 

He rushed about the room as he shouted this. What harassed 
and mortified him most of all was the humiliating consciousness 
that he was demeaning himself so far to Pavel Pavlovitch. 

“ I wanted to be reconciled with you, Alexey Ivanovitch ! " 
the other articulated suddenly, in a rapid whisper, and his chin 
began twitching again. 

Velchaninov was overcome by furious rage, as though no one 
had ever insulted him so much. 

“ I 'tell you again,” he yelled, “ that you’re fastening upon a 
man who's nervous and ill . . . that you're fastening upon him 
to extort something monstrous from him in delirium ! We . . . 
we are men of different worlds, understand that, and . . . and 
• , . between us lies a grave ! ” he added in a furious whisper, 
and suddenly realized what he had done. . . . 

“ And how do you know ” — Pavel Pavlovitch's face was 
suddenly pale and distorted — “ how do you know what that 
little grave here means ... for me ! ” he cried, stepping up to 
Velchaninov with a ridiculous but horrible gesture, pressing his 
fist against his heart. “ I know that little grave here, and we 
both stand at the side of that little grave, but on my side there 
is more than on yours, more . . .” he whispered as though in 
delirium, still thumping at his heart with his fist, “ more, more, 
more . . 

106 



„ Suddenly an extraordinarily loud ring at the door brought 
both of them to their senses. The bell rang so violently that it 
seemed as though some one had vowed to break it at the first 
pull. 

" People don’t ring like that to see me,” said Velchaninov in 
perplexity. 

“ Nor to see me either,” Pavel Pavlovitch whispered timidly, 
recovering himself too, and at once turning into the old Pavel 
Pavlovitch again. 

Velchaninov scowled and went to open the door. 

“ M. Velchaninov, if I’m not mistaken?” they heard in a 
ringing, youthful, and exceptionally self-confident voice in the 
passage. 

“ What is it ? " 

“ I have trustworthy information,” continued the ringing 
voice, “ that a certain Trusotsky is with you at this moment. 

I must see him instantly.” 

It would certainly have pleased Velchaninov at that moment 
to have given the self-confident young gentleman a vigorous 
kick and to have sent him flying out on the stairs; but he 
thought a moment, moved aside and let him in. 

“ Here is M. Trusotsky ; come in. . . 


CHAPTER XIV 

8ASHENKA AND NADENKA 

Theke walked into the room a very young man, of about nine- 
teen, perhaps even less — to judge from the youthfulness of his 
handsome, self-confident, upturned face. He was fairly well 
dressed, or at any rate his clothes looked well on him ; in height 
he was a little above the average ; the black hair that hung in 
thick locks about his head, and the big, bold, dark eyes were 
particularly conspicuous in his face. Except that his nose was 
rather broad and turned up, he was a handsome fellow. He 
walked in solemnly. 

“ I believe I have the opportunity of conversing with M. 
Trusotsky,” he pronounced in a measured tone, emphasizing 
with peculiar relish the word “ opportunity ” — giving him to 
understand thereby that he did not consider it either an 
“honour ” or a “ pleasure ” to converse with M. Trusotsky. 

i°7 



Velchaninov began to grasp the position ; something seemed' 
to be dawning on Pavel Pavlovitch too. There was a look of 
uneasiness in his face; but he stood his ground. 

“ Not having the honour of your acquaintance,” he answered 
majestically, “ I imagine that you cannot have business of any 
sort with me.” 

“ You had better hear me first and then give your opinion,” 
the young man admonished him self-confidently, and, taking 
out a tortoiseshell lorgnette hanging on a cord, he examined 
through it the bottle of champagne standing on the table. 
When he had calmly completed his scrutiny of the bottle, 
he folded up the lorgnette and turned to Pavel Pavlovitch 
again. 

“ Alexandr Lobov.” 

“ What do you mean by Alexandr Lobov t ” 

“ That's me. Haven't you heard of me ? ” 

“No.” 

“ How should you, though ? I've come on important business 
that chiefly concerns you. Allow me to sit down; I'm tired.” 

“Sit down,” Velchaninov urged him; but the young man 
succeeded in sitting down before being invited to do so. 

In spite of the increasing pain in his chest Velchaninov was 
interested in this impudent youth. In his pretty, childlike 
and rosy face, he fancied a remote resemblance to Nadya. 

“You sit down too,” the lad suggested to Pavel Pavlovitch, 
motioning him with a careless nod of the head to a seat opposite. 

“Don’t trouble; I’ll stand.” 

“ You'll be tired. You needn’t go away, M. Velchaninov, if 
you like to stay.” 

“ I’ve nowhere to go ; I'm at home.” 

“ As you please. I must confess I should prefer you to be 
present while I have an explanation with this gentleman. 
Nadyezhda Fedosyevna gave me rather a flattering account of 
you.” 

“ Bah ! When had she time to do that ? ” 

“Why, just now after you left; I’ve just come from there, 
too. I've something to tell you, M. Trusotsky.” He turned 
round to Pavel Pavlovitch, who was standing. “ We— that is, 
Nadyezhda Fedosyevna and I,” he went on, letting his words 
drop one by one as he lolled carelessly in the armchair ; “ we've 
cared for each other for ever so long, and have given each other ‘ 
our promise. You are in our way now ; I've oome to suggest 

108 



^bat you should clear out. Will it suit you to act on my 
suggestion ? 

Pavel Pavlovitch positively reeled; he turned pale, but a 
diabolical smile came on to his lips at once. 

“ No, it won’t suit me at all,” he rapped out laconically. 

“ You don’t say so ! ” The young man turned round in the 
armchair and crossed one leg over the other. 

“I don’t know who it is I’m speaking to,” added Pavel 
Pavlovitoh. “ I believe, indeed, that there’s no object in con- 
tinuing our conversation.” 

Uttering this, he too thought fit to sit down. 

" I told you you would be tired,” the youth observed casually 
“ I told you just now that my name is Alexandr Lobov, and that 
Nadyezhda and I are pledged to one another; consequently 
you can’t say, as you did just now.^that you don’t know who 
it is you have to deal with; you can’t imagine, either, that I 
have nothing more to say to you; putting myself aside, it 
concerns Nadyezhda Fedosyevna, whom you persist in pester- 
ing so insolently. And that alone is sufficient reason for an 
explanation.” 

All this he let drop, word by word, through his closed lips, 
with the air of a coxcomb who did not deign to articulate his 
words ; he even drew out his lorgnette again and turned it upon 
something while he was talking. 

“ Excuse me, young man ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch exclaimed 
irritably; but the young man instantly snubbed him. 

“ At any other time I should certainly forbid your calling me 
‘young man,’ but now you will admit that my youth is my chief 
advantage over you, and that you would have been jolly glad, 
this morning, for instance, when you presented your bracelet, 
to be a tiny bit younger.” 

” Ah, you sprat ! ” murmured Velchaninov. 

“ In any case, sir,” Pavel Pavlovitch corrected himself with 
dignity, “ I do not consider the reasons you have advanced — 
most unseemly and dubious reasons — sufficient to continue 
discussing them. I see that this is all a foolish and childish 
business. To-morrow I’ll make inquiries of my highly respected 
friend, Fedosey Semyonovitch ; and now I beg you to retire.” 

“ Do you see the sort of man he is ? ” the youth cried at once, 
unable to sustain his previous tone, and turning hotly to 
Velchaninov. “ It’s not enough for him that they’ve put out 
their tongues at him to-day and kicked him out — he’ll go 

109 



to-morrow to tell tales of us to the old man ! Won't you prove, 
by that, you obstinate man, that you want to take the girl by 
force, that you want to buy her of people in their dotage who 
in our barbarous state of society retain authority over her? 
I should have thought it would have been enough for you that 
she's shown you how she despises you ; why, she gave you back 
your indecent present to-day, your bracelet. What more do 
you want ? ” 

“ No one has returned me a bracelet, and it’s utterly out of 
the question ! " Pavel Pavlovitch said, startled. 

“ Out of the question ? Do you mean to say M. Velchanhiov 
has not given it you ? ” 

“ Damnation take you ! " thought Velchaninov. “ Nadyezhda 
Eedosyevna did commission me," he said, frowning, “to give 
you this case, Pavel Pavlovitch. I refused to take it, but she 
begged me . . . here it is . . . I'm annoyed. . . ." 

He took out the case and, much embarrassed, laid it before 
Pavel Pavlovitch, who was struck dumb. 


“Why didn’t you give it to him before? " said the young 
jmtleman, addressing Velchaninov severely. 

s you see, I hadn’t managed to do so yet," the latter 

rep]iea 1 frowain g-„ 

“ That? *l ueer - 
“ Wha-' at ■ ” 

“ You ac *niit i fc ’ s queer, anyway. Though I am ready 
to alhr w ^ ere ma y be a misunderstanding." 

y e inaninov felt a great inclination to get up at once and 
lphe saucy urchin’s ears, but he could not refrain from 
gibing out laughing in his face; the boy promptly laughed 
,o. It was very different with Pavel Pavlovitch; if Velcha- 
ninov could have observed the terrible look he turned upon him 
when Velchaninov was laughing at Lobov, he would have realized 
that at that instant the man was passing through a momentous 
crisis. . . . But though Velchaninov did not see that glance, he 
felt that he must stand by Pavel Pavlovitch. 

“ Listen, M. Lobov," he began in a friendly tone; “ without 
entering into discussion of other reasons upon which I don’t 
care to touch, I would only point out to you that, in paying his 
addresses to Nadyezhda Fedosyevna, Pavel Pavlovitch can in 
any case boast of certain qualifications : in the first place, tho 
fact that everything about him is known to that estimable 
family ; in the second place, his excellent and highly respectable 


no 



position ; finally, his fortune, and consequently he must naturally 
bo surprised at the sight of a rival like you — a man, perhaps, of 
great merit, but so exceedingly young that he can hardly take 
you for a serious suitor . . , and so he is justified in asking 
you to retire/* 

“ What do you mean by 4 exceedingly young ’ ? I was nine- 
teen last month. By law I could have been married long ago. 
That’s all I can say/* 

“ But what father could bring himself to give you his daughter 
now — even if you were to be a millionaire in the future or some 
benefactor of mankind ? At nineteen a man cannot even answer 
for himself, and you are ready to take the responsibility of another 
person’s future, that is, the future of another child like your- 
self ! Why, do you think it’s quite honourable ? I have ven- 
tured to speak frankly to you because you appealed' to me just 
now as an intermediary between you and Pavel Pavlovitch.” 

“ Ah, to be sure, his name’s Pavel Pavlovitch ! ” observed 
the boy ; “ how is it I kept fancying that he was Vassily 
Petrovitch? Well,” he went on, addressing Velchaninov, 
” you haven’t surprised me in the least; I knew you were all 
like that ! It’s odd, though, that they talked of you as a man 
rather new in a way. But that’s all nonsense, though; far 
from there being anything dishonourable on my part, as you so 
freely expressed it, it’s the very opposite, as I hope to make you 
see : to begin with, we’ve pledged our word to each other, and, 
what’s more, I’ve promised her, before two witnesses, that if 
she ever falls in love with some one else, or simply regrets 
having married me and wants to separate, I will at once give 
her a formal declaration of my infidelity — and so will support 
her petition for divorce. What’s more, in case I should later 
on go back upon my word and refuse to give her that declara- 
tion, I will give her as security on our wedding-day an I 0 U 
for a hundred thousand roubles, so that if I should be perverse 
about the declaration she can at once change my I O U and 
me into the bargain ! In that way everything will be secured 
and I shouldn’t be risking anybody’s future. That’s the first 
point.” 

“ I bet that fellow — What’s-his-name ? — Predposylov invented 
that for you ! ” cried Velchaninov. 

” He, he, he l ” chuckled Pavel Pavlovitch viciously. 

# ‘ What’s that gentleman sniggering about ? You guessed 
right, it was Predposylov’s idea; and you must admit it was 

hi 



a shrewd one. The absurd law is completely paralysed by it. 
Of course, I intend to love her for ever, and she laughs tremen- 
dously; at the same time it’s ingenious, and you must admit 
that it’s honourable, and that it’s not every man who would 
consent to do it.” 

“ To my thinking, so far from being honourable, it’s positively 
disgusting.’* 

The young man shrugged his shoulders. 

“ Again you don’t surprise me,” he observed, after a brief 
silence. “ I have given up being surprised at that sort of thing 
long ago.. Predposylov would tell you flatly that your lack of 
comprehension of the most natural things is due to the cor- 
ruption of your most ordinary feelings and ideas by a long life 
spent idly and absurdly. But possibly we don’t understand 
one another ; they spoke well of you. anyway . . . you’re fifty, 
I suppose, aren’t you ? ” 

“ Kindly keep to the point.” 

“Excuse my indiscretion and don’t be annoyed; I didn’t 
mean anything. I will continue : I’m by no means a future 
millionaire, as you expressed it (and what an idea !) ; I have 
nothing but what I stand up in, but I have complete confidence 
in my future. I shan’t be a hero or a benefactor of mankind 
either, but I shall keep myself and my wife. Of course, I’ve 
nothing now; I was brought up in their house, you see, from 
childhood. . . .” 

“ How was that ? ” 

" Well, you see, I’m the son of a distant relation of Zahlebinin’s 
wife, and when all my people died and left me at eight years 
old, the old man took me in and afterwards sent me to the 
high school. He’s really a good-natured man, if you care to 
know. . . 

“ I know that.” 

“ Yes ; a bit antiquated in his ideas, but kind-hearted. It’s 
a long time now, of course, since I was under his guardianship ; 
I want to earn my own living, and to owe no one anything.” 

“ How long have you been independent ? ” Velchaninov 
inquired. 

“ Why, four months.” 

“ Oh, well, one can understand it then : you’ve been friends 
from childhood ! Well, have you a situation, then ? ” 

“ Yes, a private situation, in a notary’s office, for twenty-five 
roubles a month. Of course, only for the time, but when I 

112 



made my offer I hadn’t even that. I was serving on the. railway 
then for ten roubles a month, but only for the time.” 

“ Do you mean to say you’ve made an offer of marriage t ” 

“ Yes, a formal offer, and ever so long ago — over three weeks.” 

" Well, and what happened ? ” 

“ The old man laughed awfully at first, and then was awfully 
angry, and locked her up upstairs. But Nadya held out 
heroically. But that was all because he was a bit crusty with 
me before, for throwing up the berth in his department which 
he had got me into four months ago, before 1 went to the rail- 
way. He’s a capital old chap, I tell you again, simple and jolly 
at home, but you can’t fancy what he’s like as soon as he’s in 
his office ! He’s like a Jove enthroned ! I naturally let him 
know that I was not attracted by his manners there, but the 
chief trouble was through the head clerk’s assistant : that 
gentleman took it into his head that I had been 4 rude ’ to 
him, and all that 1 said to him was that he was undeveloped. 
I threw them all up, and now I’m at a notary’s.” 

“ And did you get much in the department ? ” 

” Oh, I was not on the regular staff ! The old man used to 
give me an allowance too; I tell you he’s a good sort, but 
we shan’t give in, all the same. Of course, twenty-five roubles 
Is not enough to support a wife, but I hope soon to have a 
share in the management of Count Zavileysky’s neglected 
estates, and then to rise to three thousand straight off, or else 
I shall become a lawyer. People are always going to law now- 
adays. . . . Bah ! What a clap of thunder ! There’ll be a 
storm; it’s a good thing I managed to get here before it; I 
came on foot, I ran almost all the way.” 

“ But, excuse me, if so, when did you manage to talk things 
over with Nadyezhda Fedosyevna, especially if they refuse you 
admittance ? ” 

“ Why, one can talk over the fence ! Did you notice that 
red-haired girl ? ” he laughed. “ She’s very active on our side, 
and Marie Nikititchna too; ah, she’s a serpent, that Marie 
Nikititchna ! . . . Why do you wince ? Are you afraid of the 
thunder 1 ” 

11 No, I’m unwell, very unwell. . . .” 

Velchaninov, in positive agony from the pain in his chest, got 
up and tried to walk about the room. 

“ Oh, then, of course, I’m in your way. . . . Don’t be uneasy, 
I’m just going ! 

i 


1 13 



And the youth jumped up from his seat. 

44 You’re not in the way; it’s no matter,” said Velchaninov 
courteously. 

44 How can it be no matter ? 1 When Kobylnikov had a 

stomach-ache ’ ... do you remember in Shtchedrin ? Are you 
fond of Shtchedrin 1 99 

44 Yes.” 

44 So am I. Well, Vassily . . . oh, hang it, Pavel Pavlovitch, 
let’s finish ! ” He turned, almost laughing, to Pavel Pavlovitch. 
“ I will once more for your comprehension formulate the 
question : do you consent to make a formal withdrawal of 
all pretensions in regard to Nadyezhda Fedosyevna to the 
old people to-morrow, in my presence ? ” 

44 I certainly do not.” Pavel Pavlovitch, too, got up from 
his seat with an impatient and exasperated air. “ And I beg 
you once more to spare me . • . for all this is childish and 
silly.” 

44 You had better look out.” The youth held up a warning 
finger with a supercilious smile. 44 Don’t make a mistake in 
your calculations ! Do you know what such a mistake leads 
to ? I warn you that in nine months’ time, when you have had 
all your expense and trouble, and you come back here, you’ll 
be forced to give up Nadyezhda Fedosyevna, or if you don’t 
give her up it will be the worse for you; that’s what will be 
the end of it ! I must warn you that you’re like the dog in 
the manger — excuse me, it’s only a comparison — getting nothing 
yourself and preventing others. From motives of humanity I 
tell you again : reflect upon it, force yourself for once in your 
life to reflect rationally.” 

4 4 1 beg you to spare me your sermonizing ! ” cried Pavel 
Pavlovitch furiously; 44 and as for your nasty insinuations, I 
shall take measures to-morrow, severe measures ! 99 

44 Nasty insinuations ? What do you mean by that ? You’re 
nasty yourself, if that’s what you’ve got in your head. How- 
ever, I agree to wait till to-morrow, but if . . . Ah, thunder 
again ! Good-bye; very glad to make your acquaintance ” — he 
nodded to Velchaninov and ran off, apparently in haste to get 
back before the storm and not to get caught in the rain. 



CHAPTER XV 

THE ACCOUNT IS SETTLED 

“ You see ! You see ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch skipped up to 
Velchaninov as soon as the youth had departed. 

“ Yes ; you’ve no luck ! ” said Velchaninov carelessly. 

He would not have said those words had he not been tortured 
and exasperated by the pain in his chest, which was growing 
more and more acute. 

“ It was because you felt for me, you didn’t give me back 
the bracelet, wasn’t it ? ” 

“ I hadn’t time . . .” 

“ You felt for me from your heart, like a true friend ? ” 

" Oh yes, I felt for you,” said Velchaninov, in exasperation. 

Ho told him briefly, however, how the bracelet had been 
returned to him, and how Nadyezhda Fedosyevna had almost 
forced him to assist in returning it. . . . 

“ You understand that nothing else would have induced me 
to take it; I’ve had unpleasantness enough apart from that ! ” 

“ You were fascinated and took it ? ” sniggered Pavel Pavlo- 
vitch. 

“That’s stupid on your part; however, I must excuse you. 
You saw for yourself just now that I’m not the leading person, 
that there are others in this affair. ” 

“ At the same time you were fascinated.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch sat down and filled up his glass. 

“ Do you imagine I’d give way to that wretched boy ? I’ll 
make mincemeat of him, so there ! I’ll go over to-morrow and 
polish him off.> We’ll smoke out that spirit from the nursery.” 

He emptied his glass almost at a gulp and filled it again ; he 
began, in fact, to behave in an unusually free and easy way. 

“ Ah, Nadenka and Sashenka, the sweet little darlings, he — 
he— he ! ” 

He was beside himself with anger. There came another 
louder clap of thunder, followed by a blinding flash of lightning, 
and the rain began streaming in bucketfuls. Pavel Pavlovitch 
got up and closed the open window. 

“ He asked you whether you were afraid of the thunder, 
he — he. Velchaninov afraid of thunder ! Kobylnikov — what 
was it — Kobylnikov . . . and what about being fifty too — eh ? 
Do you remember ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch sneered diabolically. 

“5 



“ You’ve established yourself here, it seems t 99 observed 
Velohaninov, hardly able to articulate the words for the pain 
in his chest. “ I’ll lie down, you can do what you like.” 

“ Why, you couldn’t turn a dog out in weather like this 1 ” 
Pavel Pavlovitch retorted in an aggrieved tone, seeming almost 
pleased, however, at having an excuse for feeling aggrieved. 

“ All right, sit down, drink . . . stay the night, if you like ! ” 
muttered Velchaninov. He stretched himself on the sofa and 
uttered a faint groan. 

“ Stay the night ? And you won’t be afraid ? 99 

“ What of ? ” said Velchaninov, suddenly raising his head. 

“ Oh, nothing. Last time you were so frightened, or was it 
my fancy . . 

“ You’re stupid ! ** Velchaninov could not help saying. Ho 
turned his head to the wall angrily. 

“ All right,” responded Pavel Pavlovitch. 

The sick man fell asleep suddenly, a minute after lying down. 
The unnatural strain upon him that day in the shattered state 
of his health had brought on a sudden crisis, and he was as weak 
as a child. But the pain asserted itself again and got the upper 
hand of sleep and weariness; an hour later he woke up and 
painfully got up from the sofa. The storm had subsided; the 
room was full of tobacco smoke, on the table stood an empty 
bottle, and Pavel Pavlovitch was asleep on another sofa. He 
was lying on his back, with his head on the sofa cushion, fully 
dressed and with his boots on. His lorgnette had slipped out 
of his pocket and was hanging down almost to the floor. His 
hat was lying on the ground beside it. Velchaninov looked at 
him mofosely and did not attempt to wake him. Writhing with 
pain and pacing about the room, for he could no longer bear to 
lie down, he moaned and brooded over his agonies. 

He was afraid of that pain in his chest, and not without 
reason. He had been liable to these attacks for a very long 
time, but they had only occurred at intervals of a year or two. 
He knew that they came from the liver. At first a dull, not 
acute, but irritating feeling of oppression was, as it were, con- 
centrated at some point in the chest, under the shoulder-blade 
or higher up. Continually increasing, sometimes for ten hours 
at a stretch, the pain at last would reach such a pitch, the 
oppression would become so insupportable, that the sufferer 
began to have visions of dying. On his last attack, a year 
before, he was, when the pain ceased after ten hours of suffering, 

ii6 



so weak that he conld scarcely move his hands as he lay in bed, 
and the doctor had allowed him to take nothing for the whole 
day but a few teaspoonfuls of weak tea and of bread soaked in 
broth, like a tiny baby. The attacks were brought on by different 
things, but never occurred except when his nerves were out of 
order. It was strange, too, how the attack passed off; some- 
times it was possible to arrest it at the very beginning, during 
the first half -hour, by simple compresses, and it would pass away 
completely at once; sometimes, as on his last attack, nothing 
was of any use, and the pain only subsided after numerous and 
continually recurring paroxysms of vomiting. The doctor con- 
fessed afterwards that he believed it to be a case of poisoning. 
It was a long time to wait till morning, and he didn't want to 
send for the doctor at night ; besides, he didn’t like doctors. At 
last he could not control himself and began moaning aloud. His 
groans waked Pavel Pavlovitch ; he sat up on the sofa, and for 
some time listened with alarm and bewilderment, watching 
Velchaninov, who was almost running backwards and forwards 
through the two rooms. The bottle of champagne had had a 
great effect upon him, evidently more than usual, and it was 
some time before he could collect himself. At last he grasped 
the position and rushed to Velchaninov, who mumbled something 
in reply to him. 

“ It’s the liver, I know it ! ” cried Pavel Pavlovitch, becoming 
exttemely animated all at once. “ Pyotr Kuzmitch Polosuhin 
used to suffer just the same from liver. You ought to have 
compresses. Pyotr Kuzmitch always had compresses. . . . One 
may die of it ! Shall I run for Mavra ? ” 

“ No need, no need ! ” Velchaninov waved him off irritably. 
Ui I want nothing.” 

But Pavel Pavlovitch, goodness knows why, seemed beside 
himself, as though it were a question of saving his own son. 
Without heeding Velchaninov’s protests, he insisted on the 
necessity of compresses and also of two or three cups of weak 
tea to be drunk on the spot, " and not simply hot, but boiling ! ” 
He ran to Mavra, without waiting for permission, with her laid 
a fire in the kitchen, which always stood empty, and blew up 
the samovar ; at the same time he succeeded in getting the sick 
man to bed, took off his clothes, wrapped him up in a quilt, 
and within twenty minutes had prepared tea and compresses. 

“ This is a hot plate, scalding hot ! ” he said, almost ecstati- 
cally, applying the heated plate, wrapped up in a napkin, on 

1 17 



Velchaninov’s aching chest. “ There aie no other compresses, 
and plates, I swear on my honour, will be even better : they were 
laid on Pyotr Kuzmitch, I saw it with my own eyes, and did 
it with my own hands. One may die of it, you know. Drink 
your tea, swallow it; never mind about scalding yourself; life 
is too precious ... for one to be squeamish.” 

He quite flustered Mavra, who was half asleep; the plates 
were changed every three or four minutes. After the third 
plate and the second cup of tea, swallowed at a gulp, Velchaninov 
felt a sudden relief. 

“ If once they’ve shifted the pain, thank God, it’s a good 
sign ! ” cried Pavel Pavlovitch, and he ran joyfully to fetch a 
fresh plate and a fresh cup of tea. 

If only we can ease the pain. If only we can keep it 
uflder ! ” he kept repeating. 

Half an hour later the pain was much less, but the sick man 
was so exhausted that in spite of Pavel Pavlovitch’s entreaties 
he refused to " put up with just one more nice little plate.” 
He was so weak that everything was dark before his eves. 

44 Sleep, sleep,” he repeated in a faint voice. 

44 To be sure,” Pavel Pavlovitch assented 

44 You’ll stay the night. . . . What time is it ? ” 

“ It’s nearly two o’clock, it’s a quarter to.” 

“ You’ll stay the night.” 

44 1 will, I will.” 

A minute later the sick man called Pavel Pavlovitch again. 

“ You, you,” he muttered, when the latter had run up and 
was bending over him ; 44 you are better than I am ! I under- 
stand it "all, all. . . . Thank you.” 

44 Sleep, sleep,” whispered Pavel Pavlovitch, and he hastened 
on tiptoe to his sofa. 

As he fell asleep the invalid heard Pavel Pavlovitch noiselessly 
making up a bed for himself and taking off his clothes. Finally, 
putting out the candle, and almost holding his breath for fear 
of waking the patient, he stretched himself on his sofa. 

There is no doubt that Velchaninov did sleep and that he fell 
asleep very soon after the candle was put out ; he remembered 
this clearly afterwards. But all the time he was asleep, up to 
the very moment that he woke up, he dreamed that he was 
not asleep, and that in spite of his exhaustion he could not 
get to sleep. At last he began to dream that he was in a sort 
of waking delirium, and that he could not drive away the phan- 

iiS 





rMtw»^y delirium «d tot Th. pktotom. toto 

lulamiliar figures; his room seemed to be full of people; Mid 
the door into the passage stood open; people were coming in 
in crowds and thronging the stairs. At the table, which WB8 
set in the middle of the room, there was sitting one man — 
exactly as in the similar dream he had had a month before. Just 
as in that dream, this man sat with his elbows on the table and 


would not speak ; but this time he was wearing a round hat with 
crape on it. “ What ! could it have been Pavel Pavlovitch 
that time too ? ” Velchaninov thought, but, glancing at the face 
of the silent man, he convinced himself that it wa3 some one 


quite different. “ Why has he got crape on,” Velchaninov 
wondered. The noise, the talking and the shouting of tho 
people crowding round the table, was awiul. These people 
seemed to be even more intensely exasperated against Vel- 
chaninov than in the previous dream ; they shook their fists at 
him, and shouted something to him with all their might, but 
what it was exactly he could not make out. “ But it’s delirium, 
of course, I know it’s delirium ! ” he thought ; “ I know I couldn’t 
get to sleep and that I’ve got up now, because it made me too 
wretched to go on lying down. . . But the shouts, the 
people, their gestures were so lifelike, so real, that sometimes 
he was seized by doubt : “ Can this be really delirium ? Good 
Heavens ! What do these people want of me ? But ... if 
it were not an hallucination, would it be possible that such a 
clamour should not have waked Pavel Pavlovitch all this time ? 


There he is asleep on the sofa ! ” At last something suddenly 
happened again, just as in that other dream: all of them made 
a rush for the stairs and they were closely packed in the doorway, 
for there was another crowd forcing its way into the room. 
These people w r ero bringing something in wdth them, something 
big and heavy; he could hear how heavily the steps of those 
carrying it sounded on the stairs and how hurriedly their panting 
voices called to one another. Ail the people in the room shouted : 

“ They’re bringing it, they’re bringing it ” — all eyes were flashing 
and fixed on Velchaninov; all of them pointed towards the 
stairs, menacing and triumphant. Feeling no further doubt 
that it was reality and not hallucination, he stood on tiptoe 
so as to peep over the people’s heads and find out as soon as 
possible what they were bringing up the stairs. His heart was 
beating,. beating, beating, and suddenly, exactly as in that first 


1 19 



dream, he heard three violent rings at the bell. And again it 
was so distinct, so real, so unmistakable a ring at the bell, that 
it could not be only a dream. . . . 

But he did not rush to the door as he had done on awaking 
then. What idea guided bis first movement and whether he 
had any idea at the moment it is impossible to say, but some 
one seemed to prompt him what he must do : he leaped out of 
bed and, with his hands stretched out before him as though 
to defend himself and ward off an attack, rushed straight 
towards the place where Pavel Pavlovitch was asleep. His 
hands instantly came into contact with other hands, stretched 
out above him, and he clutched them tight ; so, some one already 
stood bending over him. The curtains were drawn, but it was 
not quite dark, for a faint light came from the other room where 
there were no such curtains. Suddenly, with an acute pain, 
something cut the palm and fingers of his left hand, and he 
instantly realized that he had clutched the blade of a knife 
or razor and was grasping it tight in his hand. . . . And at 
the same moment something fell heavily on the floor with a thud. 

Velchaninov was perhaps three times as strong as Pavel 
Pavlovitch, yet the struggle between them lasted a long while, 
fully three minutes. He soon got him down on the floor and 
bent his arms back behind him, but for some reason he felt 
he must tie his hands behind him. Holding the murderer with 
his wounded left hand, he began with his right fumbling for 
the cord of the window curtain and for a long time could not 
find it, bub at last got hold of it and tore it from the window. 
He wondered himself afterwards at the immense effort required 
to do this. During those three minutes neither of them uttered 
a word ; nothing was audible but their heavy breathing and the 
muffled sounds of their struggling. Having at last twisted Pavel 
Pavlovitch’s arms behind him and tied them together, Vel- 
chaninov left him on the floor, got up, drew the curtain from 
the window and pulled up the blind. It was already light in 
the deserted street. Opening the window, he stood for some 
moments drawing in deep breaths of fresh air. It was a little 
past four. Shutting the window, he went hurriedly to the 
cupboard, took out a clean towel and bound it tightly round 
his left hand to stop the bleeding. At his feet an open razor 
was lying on the carpet ; he picked it up, shut it, put it in the 
razor-case, which had been left forgotten since the morning on 
the little table beside Pavel Pavlovitch’s sofa, and locked it up 

120 



in hie bureau. And, only when he had done all that, lie went 
up to Pavel Pavlovitch and began to examine him. 

Meantime, the latter had with an effort got up from the floor, 
and seated himself in an armchair. He had nothing on but his 
shirt, not even his boots. The back and the sleeves of his shirt 
were soaked with blood ; but the blood was not his own, it came 
from Velchaninov’s wounded hand. Of course it was Pavel 
Pavlovitch, but any one meeting him by chance might almost 
have failed to recognize him at the minute, so changed was his 
whole appearance. He was sitting awkwardly upright in the 
armchair, owing to his hands being tied behind his back, his 
face looked distorted, exhausted and greenish, and he quivered 
all over from time to time. He looked at Velchaninov fixedly, 
but with lustreless, unseeing eyes. All at once he smiled 
vacantly, and, nodding towards a bottle of water that stood on 
the table, he said in a meek half -whisper — 

“ Water, I should like some water.” 

Velchaninov filled a glass and began holding it for him to 
drink. Pavel Pavlovitch bent down greedily to the water; 
after three gulps he raised his head and looked intently into the 
face of Velchaninov, who was standing beside him with the glass 
in his hand, but without uttering a word he fell to drinking again. 
When he had finished he sighed deeply. Velchaninov took his 
pillow, seized his outer garments and went into the other room, 
locking Pavel Pavlovitch into the first room. 

The pain had passed off completely, but he was conscious of 
extreme weakness again after the momentary effort in which 
he had displayed an unaccountable strength. He tried to reflect 
upon what had happened, but his thoughts were hardly coherent, 
the shock had been too great. Sometimes there was a dimness 
before his eyes lasting for ten minutes or so, then he would 
start, wake up, recollect everything, remember his smarting 
hand bound up in a bloodstained towel, and would fall to 
thinking greedily, feverishly. He came to one distinct conclu- 
sion — that is, that Pavel Pavlovitch certainly had meant to 
cut his throat, but that perhaps only a quarter of an hour before 
had not known that he would do it. The razor-case had perhaps 
merely caught his eye the evening before, and, without arousing 
any thought of it at the time, had remained in his memory. 
(The razors were always locked up in the bureau, and only the 
morning before Velchaninov had taken them out to shave round 
his moustache and whiskers, as he sometimes did.) 

121 



“ If he had long been intending to murder me he would have . 
got a knife or pistol ready ; he would not have reckoned on my 
razor, which he had never seen till yesterday evening,” was 
one reflection he made among others. 

It struck six o’clock at last; Velchaninov roused himself, 
dressed, and went in to Pavel Pavlovitch. Opening the door, 
he could not understand why he had locked Pavel Pavlovitch 
in, instead of turning him out of the house. To his surprise, 
the criminal was fully dressed ; most likely he had found some 
way of untying his hands. He was sitting in the armchair, 
but got up at once when Velchaninov went in. His hat was 
already in his hand. His uneasy eyes seemed in haste to say — 

“ Don’t begin talking; it’s no use beginning; there’s no need 
to talk.” 

“ Go,” said Velchaninov. “ Take your bracelet,” he added, 
calling after him. 

Pavel Pavlovitch turned back from the door, took the case 
with the bracelet from the table, put it in his pocket and went 
out on the stairs. Velchaninov stood at the door to lock it 
behind him. Their eyes met for the last time ; Pavel Pavlovitch 
stopped suddenly, for five seconds the two looked into each 
other’s eyes — as though hesitating ; finally Velchaninov waved 
his hand faintly. 

“ Well, go l ” he said in a low voice, and locked the door. 


CHAPTER XVI 

ANALYSIS 

A feeling of immense, extraordinary relief took possession of 
him ; something was over, was settled ; an awful weight of depres- 
sion had vanished and was dissipated for ever. So it seemed 
to him. It had lasted for five weeks. He raised his hand, 
looked at the towel soaked with blood and muttered to himself : 
“ Yes, now everything is absolutely at an end ! ” And all that 
morning, for the first time in three weeks, he scarcely thought of 
Liza — as though that blood from his cut fingers could “ settle 
his account ” even with that misery. 

He recognized clearly that he had escaped a terrible danger. 
“These people,” he thought, “just these people who don’t 
know a minute beforehand whether they’ll murder a man or 

122 



not — as soon as they take a knife in their trembling hands and 
feel the hot spurt of blood on their fingers don’t stick at cutting 
your throat, but cut off your head, * clean off,* as convicts 
express it. That is so.” 

He could not remain at home and went out into the street, 
feeling convinced that he must do something, or something 
would happen to him at once ; he walked about the streets and 
waited. He had an intense longing to meet some one, to talk 
to some one, even to a stranger, and it was only that which led 
him at last to think of a doctor and of the necessity of binding 
up his hand properly. The doctor, an old acquaintance of his, 
examined the wound, and inquired with interest how it could 
have happened. Velchaninov laughed and was on the point 
of telling him all about it, but restrained himself. The doctor 
was obliged to feel his pulse and, hearing of his attack the night 
before, persuaded him to take some soothing medicine he had 
at hand. He was reassuring about the cuts : “ They could have 
no particularly disagreeable results.” Velchaninov laughed 
and began to assure him that they had already had the most 
agreeable results. An almost irresistible desire to tell the whole 
story came over him twice again during that day, on one occa- 
sion to a total stranger with whom he entered into conversa- 
tion at a tea-shop. He had never been able to endure entering 
into conversation with strangers in public places before. 

He went into a shop to buy a newspaper; he went to his 
tailor’s and ordered a suit. The idea of visiting the Pogoryeltsevs 
was still distasteful to him, and he did not think of them, and 
indeed he could not have gone to their villa : he kept expecting 
something here in the town. He dined with enjoyment, he 
talked to the waiter and to his fellow-diners, and drank half a 
bottle of wine. The possibility of the return of his illness of 
the day before did not occur to him ; he was convinced that 
the illness had passed off completely at the moment when, after 
falling asleep so exhausted, he had, an hour and a half later, 
sprung out of bed and thrown his assailant orf the floor with such 
strength. Towards evening he began to feel giddy, and at 
moments was overcome by something like the delirium he had 
had in his sleep. It was dusk when he returned home, and he 
was almost afraid of his room when he went into it. It seemed 
dreadful and uncanny in his flat. He walked up and down it 
several times, and even went into his kitchen, where he had 
scarcely ever been before. “ Here they were heating plates 

123 



yesterday,” he thought. He locked the door securely and 
lighted the candles earlier than usual. As he locked the door 
he remembered, half an hour before, passing the porter’s lodge, 
he had called Mavra and asked her whether Pavel Pavlovitch 
had come in his absence, as though he could possibly have 
come. 

After locking himself in carefully, he opened the bureau, 
took out the razor-case and opened the razor to look at it again. 
On the white bone handle there were still faint traces of blood. 
He put the razor back in the case and locked it up in the bureau 
again. He felt sleepy ; he felt that he must go to bed at once — 
or 44 he would not be fit for to-morrow.” He pictured the next 
day for some reason as a momentous and “ decisive ” day. 

But the same thoughts that had haunted him all day in the 
street kept incessantly and persistently crowding and jostling 
in his sick brain, and he kept thinking, thinking, thinking, and 
for a long time could not get to sleep. . . . 

14 If it is settled that he tried to murder me accidentally he 
went on pondering, 44 had the idea ever entered his. head before, 
if only as a dream in a vindictive moment ? ” 

He decided that question strangely — that 44 Pavel Pavlovitoh 
did want to kill him, but the thought of the murder had never 
entered his head.” In short : 41 Pavel Pavlovitch wanted to 
kill him, but didn’t know he wanted to kill him. It’s senseless, 
but that’s the truth,” thought Velchaninov. 44 It was not to 
get a post and it was not on Bagautov’s account he came here, 
though he did try to get a post here, and did run to see Bagautov 
and was furious when he died ; he thought no more of him than 
a chip. He came here on my account and he came here with 
Liza . . .” 

44 And did I expect that he . . , would murder me ? ” He 
derided that he did, that he had expected it from the moment 
when he saw him in the carriage following Bagautov’s funeral 
44 1 began, as it were, to expect something . . . but, of course, 
not that ; but, of course, not that he Wbuld murder me ! . . 

44 And can it be that all that was true ? ” he exclaimed again, 
suddenly raising his head from the pillow and opening his eyes. 
44 All that that . . . madman told me yesterday about his love 
for me, when his chin quivered and he thumped himself on the 
breast with his fist ? ” 

44 It was the absolute truth,” he decided, still pondering and 
analysing, 44 that Quasimodo from T was quite sufficiently 

124 



stupid and noble to fall in love with the lover of his wife, about 
whom he noticed nothing suspicious in twenty years ! He had 
been thinking of me with respect, cherishing my memoiy and 
brooding over my “ utterances ” for nine years. Good Heavens I 
and I had no notion of it ! He could not have been lying 
yesterday I But did he love me yesterday when he declared 
his feeling and said ‘ Let us settle our account ? * Yes, it was 
from hatred that he loved me; that’s the strongest of all 
loves . . 

“ Of course it may have happened, of course it must have 

happened that I made a tremendous impression on him at T . 

Tremendous and 1 gratifying ’ is just what it was, and it’s just 
with a Schiller like that, in the outer form of a Quasimodo, that 
such a thing could happen ! He magnified me a hundredfold 
because I impressed him too much in his philosophic solitude. 
... It would be interesting to know by what I impressed him ? 
Perhaps by my clean gloves and my knowing how to put them 
on. Quasimodos are fond of all that is aesthetic. Ough ! 
aren’t they fond of it ! A glove is often quite enough for a 
noble heart, and especially one of these * eternal husbands.’ 
The rest they supply themselves a thousand times, and are 
ready to fight for you, to satisfy your slightest wish. What 
an opinion he had of my powers of fascination ! Perhaps it 
was just my powers of fascination that made the most impression 
on him. And his cry then, ‘ If that one, too . . . whom can 
one trust ! ’ After that cry one may well become a wild 
beast ! . . . 

“ H’m l He comes here * to embrace me and weep,’ as he 
expressed it in the most abject way — that is, he came here to 
murder me and thought he' came 1 to embrace me and to weep.’ 
... He brought Liza too. But, who knows ? if I had wept 
with him, perhaps, really, he would have forgiven me, for he 
had a terrible longing to forgive me ! ... At the first shock 
all that was changed into drunken antics and caricature, and 
into loathsome, womanish whining over his wrongs. (Those 
horns ! those horns he made on his forehead !) He came 
drunk on purpose to speak out, though he was playing the 
fool; if he had not been drunk, even he could not have done 
it. . . . And how he liked playing the fool, didn’t he like it ! 
Otagh ! wasn’t he pleased, too, when he made me kiss him ! 
Only he didn’t know then whether he would end by embracing 
me or murdering me. Of course, it’s turned out that the best 

125 



thing was to do both. A most natural solution ! Fes, indeed, 
nature dislikes monstrosities and destroys them with natural 
solutions. The most monstrous monster is the monster with 
noble feelings; I know that by personal experience, Pavel 
Pavlovitch ! Nature is not a tender mother, but a stepmother 
to the monster. Nature gives birth to the deformed, but instead 
of pitying him she punishes him, and with good reason. Even 
decent people have to pay for embraces and tears of forgive- 
ness, nowadays, to say nothing of men like you and mo, Pavel 
Pavlovitch ! 

44 Yes, he was stupid enough to take me to see his future 
bride. Good Heavens ! His future bride ! Only a Quasimodo 
like that could have conceived the notion of ‘ rising again to 
a new life ’ by means of the innocence of Mademoiselle Zahle- 
binin ! But it was not your fault, Pavel Pavlovitch, it was not 
your fault : you’re a monster, so everything about you is bound 
to be monstrous, your dreams and your hopes. But, though 
he was a monster, he had doubts of his dream, and that was 
why he needed the high sanction of Velchaninov whom he bo 
revered. He wanted Velchaninov to approve, he wanted him 
to reassure him that the dream was not a dream, but some- 
thing real. He took me there from a devout respect for me 
and faith in the nobility of my feelings, believing, perhaps, 
that there, under a bush, we should embrace and shed tears near 
all that youthful innocence. Yes ! That * eternal husband ’ 
was obliged, sooner or later, to punish himself for everything, 
and to punish himself he snatched up the razor — by accident, 
it is true, still he did snatch it up ! 4 And yet he stuck him with 

a knife, and yet he ended by stabbing him in the presence of 
the Governor.' And, by the way, had he any idea of that sort 
in his mind when he told me that anecdote about the best man ? 
And was there really anything that night when he got out of 
bed and stood in the middle of the room ? H’m ! . . . No, 
he stood there then as a joke . He got up for other reasons, and 
when he saw that I was frightened of him he did not answer 
me for ten minutes because he was very much pleased that I 
was frightened of him. ... It was at that moment, perhaps, 
when he stood there in the dark, that some idea of this sort 
first dawned upon him. . . . 

44 Yet if I had not forgotten that razor on the table yesterday — 
maybe nothing would have happened. Is that so? Is that 
so ? To be sure he had been avoiding me before — why, he had 

126 



not been to see me for a fortnight; he had been hiding from 
me to spare me ! Of course, he picked out Bagautov first, not 
me ! Why, he rushed to heat plates for me in the night, thinking 
to create a diversion — from the knife to pity and tenderness ! . . . 
He wanted to save himself and me, too — with his hot plates ! . . .” 

And for a long time the sick brain of this “ man of the world ” 
went on working in this way, going round and round in a circle, 
till he grew calmer. He woke up next morning with the 
same headache, but with a quite new and quite unexpected 
terror in his heart. . . . 

This new terror came from the positive conviction, which 
suddenly grew strong within him that he, Velchaninov (a man 
of the world) would end it all that day by going of his own 
free will to Pavel Pavlovitch. Why ? What for? He had no 
idea and, with repugnance, refused to know ; all that he knew 
was that, for some reason, he would go to him. 

This madness, however — he could give it no other name — 
did, as it developed, take a rational form and fasten upon a 
fairly legitimate pretext : he had even, the day before, been 
haunted by the idea that Pavel Pavlovitch would go back to 
his lodging and hang himself, like the clerk about whom Marya 
Sysoevna had told him. This notion of the day before had 
passed by degrees into an unreasoning but persistent convic- 
tion. “ Why should the fool hang himself ? ” he kept protesting 
to himself every half-minute. He remembered Liza’s words . . . 
“ Yet in his place, perhaps, I should hang myself ” ... he 
reflected once. 

It ended by his turning towards Pavel Pavlovitch instead of 
going to dinner. “ I shall simply inquire of Marya Sysoevna,” 
he decided. But before ho had come out into the street he 
stopped short in the gateway : “ Can it be, can it be ? ” he cried, 
turning crimson with shame. “ Can it be that I’m crawling 
there, to ‘ embrace and shed tears ’ ? That senseless abjectness 
was all that was needed to complete the ignominy ! ” 

But from that “ senseless abjectness ” he was saved by the 
providence that watches over all decent and well-bred people. 
He had no sooner stepped into the street when he stumbled upon 
Alexandr Lobov. The young man was in breathless haste and 
excitement. 

“ I was coming to see you ! What do you think of our friend 
Pavel Pavlovitch, now ? ” 

“ He’s hanged himself l” Velchaninov muttered wildly. 

127 



11 Who's hanged himself t What for t ” cried Lobov, with 
wide-open eyes. 

“ Never mind ... I didn’t mean anything; go on." 

“ Foo ! damn it all ! what funny ideas you have, though. 
He’s not hanged himself at all (why should he hang himself ?). 
On the contrary — he’s gone away. I've only just put him into 
the train and seen him off. Foo ! how he drinks, I tell you ! 
We drank three bottles, Predposylov with us — but how he 
drinks, how he drinks ! He was singing songs in the train. He 
remembered you, blew kisses, sent you his greetings. But he 
is a scoundrel, don’t you think so ? ” 

The young man certainly was a little tipsy ; his flushed face, 
his shining eyes and faltering tongue betrayed it unmistakably. 
Velchaninov laughed loudly. 

“ So in the end they finished up with Bruderschaft ! Ha-ha ! 
They embraced and shed tears ! Ah, you Schilleresque poets ! ” 
“Don’t call me names, please. Do you know he’s given it 
all up over there ? He was there yesterday, and he’s been there 
to-day. He sneaked horribly. They locked Nadya up — she’s 
sitting in a room upstairs. There were tears and lamentations, 
but we stood firm l But how he does drink, I say, doesn’t he 
drink ! And, I say, isn’t he mauvais ton , at least not mauvais 
ton exactly, what shall I call it ? ... He kept talking of you, 
but there’s no comparison between you ! You’re a gentleman 
anyway, and really did move in decent society at one time and 
have only been forced to come down now through poverty or 
something. . . . Goodness knows what, I couldn’t quite 
understand him.” 

“ Ah, so he spoke to you of me in those terms 1 ” 

" He did, he did ; don’t be angry. To be a good citizen is 
better than being in aristocratic society. I say that because in 
Russia, nowadays, one doesn’t know whom to respect. You’ll 
agree that it’s a serious malady of the age, when people don’t 
know whom to respect, isn’t it ? ” 

“ It is, it is ; what did he say ? ” 

“ He ? Who ? Ah, to be sure ! Why did he keep saying 
* Velchaninov fifty, but a rake,’ why hut a rake and not and 
a rake ; he laughed and repeated it a thousand times over. He 
got into the train, sang a song and burst out crying — it was 
simply revolting, pitiful, in fact — from drunkenness. Oh ! I 
don’t like fools ! He fell to throwing money to the beggars 
for the peace of the soul of Lizaveta — his wife, is that ? ” 

128 



* His daughter.” 

“ What’s the matter with your hand ? ” 

“ I cut it.” 

“ Never mind, it will get better. Damn him, you know, it’s 
a good thing he’s gone, but I bet anything that he’ll get married 
directly he arrives — he will — won’t he ? ” 

“ Why, but you want to get married, too, don’t you? ” 

“ Me ? That ’8 a different matter. What a man you are, 
really ! If you are fifty, he must be sixty : you must look at 
it logically, my dear sir ! And do you know I used, long ago, 
to be a pure Slavophil by conviction, but now we look for 
dawn from the West. . . . But, good-bye ; I’m glad I met you 
without going in ; I won’t come in, don't ask me, I’ve no time 
to spare ! . . .” 

And he was just running off. 

“ Oh, by the way,” he cried, turning back; “ why, he sent 
me to you with a letter ! Here is the letter. Why didn’t you 
come to see him off ? ” 

Velchaninov returned home and opened the envelope addressed 
to him. 

There was not one line from Pavel Pavlovitch in it, but there 
was a different letter. Velchaninov recognized the handwriting. 
It was an old letter, written on paper yellow with age, with ink 
that had changed colour. It had been written to him ten years 
before, two months after he bad left T and returned to Peters- 

burg. But the letter had never reached him ; he had received 
a different one instead of it ; this was clear from the contents of 
this old yellow letter. In this letter Natalya Vassilyevna took 
leave of him for ever, and confessed that she loved some one 
else, just as in the letter he had actually received ; but she also 
did not conceal from him that she was going to have a child. 
On the contrary, to comfort him, she held out hopes that she 
might find a possibility of handing over the future child to him, 
declared henceforth that they had other duties — in short, there 
was little logic, but the object was clear : that he should no 
longer trouble her with his love. She even sanctioned his ooming 

to T in a year’s time to have a look at the child. God knows 

why she changed her mind and sent the other letter instead. 

Velchaninov was pale as he read it, but he pictured to himself 
Pavel Pavlovitch finding that letter and reading it for the first 
time, before the opened ebony box inlaid with mother-of-pearl 
which was an heirloom in the family. 

K 129 



" He, too, must have turned pale as a corpse,” he thought, 
catching a glimpse of his own face in the looking-glass. “ He 
must have read it and closed his eyes, and opened them again 
hoping that the letter would have changed into plain white 
paper. . . . Most likely he had done that a second time and a 
third I . . 


CHAPTER XVn 

THE ETERNAL HUSBAND 

Almost exactly two years had passed since the incidents we 
have described. We meet Velchaninov again on a beautiful 
summer day, in the train on one of our newly opened railways. 
He was going to Odessa for his own pleasure, to see one of his 
friends, and also with a view to something else of an agreeable 
nature. He hoped through that friend to arrange a meeting 
with an extremely interesting woman whose acquaintance he 
had long been eager to make. Without going into details we 
will confine ourselves to observing that he had become entirely 
transformed, or rather reformed, during those two years. Of 
his old hypochondria scarcely a trace remained. Of the various 
“ reminiscences ” and anxiety — the result of illness which had 
beset him two years before in Petersburg at the time of his 
unsuccessful lawsuit, nothing remained but a certain secret 
shame at the consciousness of his faintheartedness. What 
partly made up for it was the conviction that it would never 
happen again, and that no one would ever know of it. It was 
true that at that time he had given up all society, had even 
begun to be slovenly in his dress, had crept away out of sight of 
every one — and that, of course, must have been noticed by all. 
But he so readily acknowledged his transgressions, and at the 
same time with such a self-confident air of new life and vigour, 
that “ every one ” immediately forgave his momentary falling 
away; in fact, those whom he had given up greeting were the 
first to recognize him and hold out their hands, and without 
any tiresome questions — just as though he had been absent on 
his own personal affairs, which were no business of theirs, and 
had only just come back from a distance. The cause of all these 
salutary changes for the better was, of course, the winning of 
his lawsuit. Velchaninov gained in all sixty thousand roubles — 
no great sum, of course, but of extreme importance to him; to 

130 



begin with, he felt himself on firm ground again, and so he felt 
satisfied at heart; he knew for certain now that he would not, 
“ like a fool/' squander this money, as he had squandered his first 
two fortunes, and that he had enough for his whole life. " How- 
ever the social edifice may totter, whatever trumpet call they’re 
sounding,” he thought sometimes, as he watched and heard all 
the marvellous and incredible things that were being done 
around him and all over Russia; " whatever shape people and 
ideas may take, I shall always have just such a delicate, dainty 
dinner as I am sitting down to now, and so I’m ready to face 
anything.” This voluptuous, comfortable thought by degrees 
gained complete possession of him and produced a transforma- 
tion in his physical, to say nothing of his moral, nature. He 
looked quite a different man from the “ sluggard ” whom we 
have described two years before and to whom such unseemly 
incidents had befallen — he looked cheerful, serene and dignified. 
Even the ill-humoured wrinkles that had begun to appear under 
his eyes and on his forehead had almost been smoothed away; 
the very tint of his face had changed, his skin was whiter and 
ruddier. 

At the moment he was sitting comfortably in a first-class 
carriage and a charming idea was suggesting itself to his mind. 
The next station was a junction and there was a new branch 
line going off to the right. He asked himself, “ How would it 
be to give up the direct way for the moment and turn off to 
the right ? There, only two stations away, he could visit another 
lady of his acquaintance who had only just returned from 
abroad, and was now living in a provincial isolation, very tedious 
for her, but favourable for him ; and so it would be possible to 
spend his time no less agreeably than at Odessa, especially as 
he would not miss his visit there either.” But he was still 
hesitating and could not quite make up his mind ; he was wait- 
ing for something to decide him. Meanwhile, the station was 
approaching and that something was not far off. 

At this station the train stopped forty minutes, and the 
passengers had the chance of having dinner. At the entrance 
to the dining-room for the passengers of the first and second 
class there was, as there usually is, a crowd of impatient and 
hurried people, and as is also usual, perhaps, a scandalous scene 
took place. A lady from a second-class carriage, who was 
remarkably pretty but somewhat too gorgeously dressed for 
travelling, was dragging after her an Uhlan, a very young and 

I3i 



handsome officer, who was trying to tear himself out of her 
hands. The youthful officer was extremely drunk, and the lady, 
to all appearance some elder relative, would not let him go, 
probably apprehending that he would make a dash for the 
refreshment bar. Meanwhile, in the crush, the Uhlan was 
jostled by a young merchant who was also disgracefully intoxi- 
cated. He had been hanging about the station for the last 
two days, drinking and scattering his money among the com- 
panions who surrounded him, without succeeding in getting 
into the train to continue his journey. A scuffle followed ; the 
officer shouted; the merchant swore; the lady was in despair, 
and, trying to draw the Uhlan away from the conflict, kept 
exclaiming in an imploring voice, “ Mitenka ! Mitenka ! ” 
This seemed to strike the young merchant as too scandalous; 
every one laughed, indeed, but the merchant was more offended 
than ever at the outrage, as he conceived it, on propriety. 

“ Oh, I say : Mitenka ! ” he pronounced reproachfully, 
mimicking the shrill voice of the lady. “ And not ashamed 
before folks ! ” 

He went staggering up to the lady, who had rushed to the 
first chair and succeeded in making the Uhlan sit down beside 
her, stared at them both contemptuously and drawled in a 
sing-song voice — 

“ You're a trollop, you are, dragging your tail in the dirt ! M 

The lady uttered a shriek and looked about her piteously 
for some means of escape. She was both ashamed and frightened, 
and, to put the finishing touch, the officer sprang up from the 
chair and, with a yell, made a dash at the merchant, but, slipping, 
fell back into the chair with a flop. The laughter grew louder 
around them, and no one dreamed of helping her; but Vel- 
chaninov came to the rescue; he seized the merchant by the 
collar and, turning him round, thrust him five paces away from 
the frightened lady. And with that the scene ended; the 
merchant wits overwhelmed by the shock and by Velchaninov’s 
impressive figure ; his companions led him away. The dignified 
countenance of the elegantly dressed gentleman produced a 
strong effect on the jeering crowd : the laughter subsided. The 
lady flushed and, almost in tears, was overflowing with expres- 
sions of gratitude. The Uhlan mumbled : “ Fanks, fanks ! ” 
and made as though to hold out his hand to Velchaninov, but 
instead of doing so suddenly took it into his head to recline at 
full length with his feet on the chairs. 

132 



“ Mitenka ! ” the lady moaned reproachfully, clasping her 
hands in horror. 

Velchaninov was pleased with the adventure and with the 
whole situation. The lady attracted him ; she was evidently a 
wealthy provincial, gorgeously but tastelessly dressed, and with 
rather ridiculous manners — in fact, she combined all the charac- 
teristics that guarantee success to a Petersburg gallant with 
designs on the fair sex. A conversation sprang up; the lady 
bitterly complained of her husband, who “ had disappeared 
as soon as he had got out of the carriage and so was the cause 
of it all, for whenever he is wanted he runs off somewhere.” 

“ Naturally,” the Uhlan muttered. 

“ Ah, Mitenka : ” She clasped her hands again. 

" Well, the husband will catch it,” thought Velchaninov. 

“ What is his name ? I will go and look for him,” he suggested. 

“ Pal Palitch,” responded the Uhlan. 

14 Your husband’s name is Pavel Pavlovitch ? ” Velchaninov 
asked, with curiosity, and suddenly a familiar bald head was 
thrust between him and the lady. In a flash he had a vision of 
the Zahlebinins’ garden, the innocent games and a tiresome bald 
head being incessantly thrust between him and Nadyezhda 
Fedosycvna. 

“ Here you are at last ! ” cried his wife hysterically. 

It was Pavel Pavlovitch himself; he gazed in wonder and 
alarm at Velchaninov, as panic-stricken at the sight of him as 
though he had been a ghost. His stupefaction was such that 
he evidently could not for some minutes take in what his offended 
spouse was explaining in a rapid and irritable flow of words. 
At last, with a start, he grasped all the horror of his position : 
his own guilt, and Mitenka’s behaviour, “ and that this mon- 
sieur” (this was how the lady for some reason described Vel- 
chaninov) “ has been a saviour and guardian angel to us, while 
you — your are always out of the way when you are wanted . . 

Velchaninov suddenly burst out laughing. 

“ Why, we are friends, we’ve been friends since childhood ! ” 
he exclaimed to the astonished lady. Putting his right arm 
with patronizing familiarity round the shoulders of Favel Pavlo- 
vitch, who smiled a pale smile, ” Hasn’t he talked to you of 
Velchaninov ? ” 

‘"No, ho never has,” the lady responded, somewhat dia- 
conoerted. 

“ You might introduce me to your wife, you faithless friend ! ” 

133 



" Lipotchka ... it really is M. Velchaninov,” Pavel Pavlo : 
vitch was beginning, but he broke off abashed. 

His wife turned crimson and flashed an angry look at him, 
probably for the “ Lipotchka.” 

“ And, only fancy, he never let me know he was married, 
and never invited me to the wedding, but you, Olimpiada ...” 

“ Semyonovna,” Pavel Pavlovitoh prompted. 

“ Semyonovna,” the Uhlan, who had dropped asleep, echoed 
suddenly. 

“ You must forgive him, Olimpiada Semyonovna, for my sake, 
in honour of our meeting . . . he’s a good husband.” 

And Velchaninov gave Pavel Pavlovitch a friendly slap on 
the shoulder. 

“ I was ... I was only away for a minute, my lo\e,” Pavel 
Pavlovitch was beginning to say. 

“And left your wife to be insulted,” Lipotchka put in at 
once. “ When you’re wanted there’s no finding you, when 
you’re not wanted you’re always at hand ...” 

“ Where you’re not wanted, where you’re not wanted . . . 
where you’re not wanted . . .” the Uhlan chimed in. 

Lipotchka was almost breathless with excitement; she knew 
it was not seemly before Velchaninov, and flushed but oould not 
restrain herself. 

“ Where you shouldn’t be you are too attentive, too atten- 
tive ! ” she burst out. 

“ Under the bed ... he looks for a lover under the bed — 
where he shouldn’t . . . where he shouldn’t . . muttered 
Miten^a, suddenly growing extremely excited. 

But there was no doing anything with Mitenka by now. It 
all ended pleasantly, however, and they got upon quite friendly 
terms. Pavel Pavlovitch was sent to fetch coffee and soup. 
Olimpiada Semyonovna explained to Velchaninov that they 
were on their way from 0 — — , where her husband had a post in 
the service, to spend two months at their country place, that it 
was not far off, only thirty miles from that station, that they 
had a lovely house and garden there, that they always had 
the house full of visitors, that they had neighbours too, and if 
Alexey Ivanovitch would be so good as to come and stay with 
them “ in their rustic solitude ” she would welcome him “ as 
their guardian angel,” for she could not recall without horror 
what would have happened, if . . . and so on, and so on — in 
fact, he was “ her guardian angel . . 

134 



44 And saviour, and saviour," the Uhlan insisted, with heat. 

Velchaninov thanked her politely, and replied that he was 
always at her service, that he was an absolutely idle man with 
no duties of any son, and that Olimpiada Semyonovna’s invita- 
tion was most flattering. He followed this at once with sprightly 
conversation, successfully introducing two or three compliments. 
Lipotchka blushed with pleasure, and as soon as Pavel Pavlovitch 
returned she told him enthusiastically that Alexey Ivanovitch 
had been so kind as to accept her invitation to spend a whole 
month with them in the country, and had promised to come in 
a week. Pavel Pavlovitch smiled in mute despair. Olimpiada 
Semyonovna shrugged her shoulders at him, and turned her 
eyes up to the ceiling. At last they got up : again a gush of 
gratitude, again the “ guardian angel," again 14 Mitenka," and 
Pavel Pavlovitch at last escorted his wife and the Uhlan to their 
compartment. Velchaninov lighted a cigar and began pacing 
to and fro on the balcony in front of the station ; he knew that 
Pavel Pavlovitch would run out again at once to talk to him till 
the bell rang. And so it happened. Pavel Pavlovitch promptly 
appeared before him with an uneasy expression in his face and 
whole figure. Velchaninov laughed, took him by the elbow in a 
friendly way, led him to the nearest bench, sat down himself, and 
made him sit down beside him. He remained silent; he wanted 
Pavel Pavlovitch to be the first to speak. 

“ So you are coming to us ? " faltered the latter, going straight 
to the point. 

44 I knew that would be it ! You haven’t changed in the 
least ! " laughed Velchaninov. 44 Why, do you mean to say " — 
he slapped him again on the shoulder — 44 do you mean to say 
you could seriously imagine for a moment that I could actually 
come and stay with you, and for a whole month too— ha — ha ? ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch was all of a twitter. 

44 So you — are not coming ! ’’ he cried, not in the least 
disguising his relief. 

44 I’m not coming, I’m not coming ! ’’ Velchaninov laughed 
complacently. 

He could not have said himself, however, why he felt so 
particularly amused, but he was more and more amused as 
time went on. 

" Do you really ... do you really mean it ? " 

And saying this, Pavel Pavlovitch actually jumped up from 
bis seat in a flutter of susoense. 

135 



“ Yes, I’ve told you already that I’m not coming, you queer 
fellow.” 

“ If that’s so, what am I to say to Olimpiada Semyonovna 
a week hence, when she will be expecting you and you don’t 
come ? ” 

“ What a difficulty ! Tell her I’ve broken my leg or something 
of that sort.” 

“ She won’t believe it,” Pavel Pavlovitch drawled plaintively. 

“ And you’ll catch it ? ” Velchaninov went on laughing. “ But 
I observe, my poor friend, that you tremble before your delightful 
wife — don’t you ? ” 

Pavel Pavlovitch tried to smile, but it did not come off. That 
Velchaninov had refused to visit them was a good thing, of 
course, but that he should be over-familiar to him about his 
wife was disagreeable. Pavel Pavlovitch winced; Velchaninov 
noticed it. Meanwhile the second bell rang ; they heard a shrill 
voice from the train anxiously calling Pavel Pavlovitch. The 
latter moved, fidgeted in his chair, but did not rise at the 
first summons, evidently expecting something more from Vel- 
chaninov, no doubt another assurance that he would not come 
and stay with them. 

“ What was your wife’s maiden name ? ” Velchaninov in- 
quired, as though unaware of Pavel Pavlovitch’s anxiety. 

“ She is our priest’s daughter,” replied the latter in uneasy 
trepidation, listening and looking towards the train. 

“ Ah, I understand, you married her for her beauty.” 

Pavel Pavlovitch winced again. 

“ And who’s this Mitenka with you ? ” 

” Oh' he’s a distant relation of ours — that is, of mine; the 
son of my deceased cousin. His name’s Golubtchikov, he was 
degraded for disorderly behaviour in the army, but now he 
has been promoted again and we have been getting his equip- 
ment. . . . He’s an unfortunate young man . . .” 

“ To be sure, the regular thing ; the party’s complete,” thought 
Velchaninov. 

" Pavel Pavlovitch ! ” the call came again from the train, 
and by now with a marked tone of irritation in the voice. 

“ Pal Palitch ! ” they heard in another thick voice. 

Pavel Pavlovitch fidgeted and moved restlessly again, but 
Velchaninov took him by the elbow and detained him. 

“ How would you like me to go this minute and tell your 
wife how you tried to cut my throat ? ” 

136 



44 What, what ! ” Pavel Pavlovitch was terribly alarmed. 
44 God forbid ! ” 

44 Pavel Pavlovitch ! Pavel Pavlovitch ! ” voices were heard 
calling again. 

“ Well, be off now ! ** said Velchaninov, letting him go at 
last, and still laughing genially. 

“ So you won’t come ? ” Pavel Pavlovitch whispered for the 
last time, almost in despair, and even put his hands before him 
with the palms together in his old style. 

“ Why, I swear I won’t come ! Run, there’ll be trouble, you 
know.” 

And with a flourish he held out his hand to him — and was 
startled at the result : Pavel Pavlovitch did not take his hand, 
he even drew his own hand back. 

The third bell rang. 

In one instant something strange happened to both of them : 
both seemed transformed. Something, as it were, quivered and 
burst out in Velchaninov, who had been laughing only just before. 
He clutched Pavel Pavlovitch by the shoulder and held him in 
a tight and furious grip. 

“ If I — I hold out this hand to you,” showing the palm of 
his left hand, where a big scar from the cut was still distinct, 
“ you certainly might take it ! ” he whispered, with pale and 
trembling lips. 

Pavel Pavlovitch, too, turned pale, and his lips trembled too ; 
a convulsive quiver ran over his face. 

“ And Liza ? ” he murmured in a rapid whisper, and suddenly 
his lips, his cheeks and his chin began to twitch and tears gushed 
from his eyes. 

Velchaninov stood before him stupefied. 

“ Pavel Pavlovitch ! Pavel Pavlovitch ! ” they heard a 
scream from the train as though some one were being murdered — 
and suddenly the whistle sounded. 

Pavel Pavlovitch roused himself, flung up his hands and ran 
full speed to the train ; the train was already in motion, but he 
managed to hang on somehow, and went flying to his com- 
partment. Velchaninov remained at the station and only in 
the evening set off on his original route in another train. He 
did not turn off to the right to see his fair friend — he felt too 
much out of humour. And how he regretted it afterwards. 


137 



THE DOUBLE 

A PETERSBURG POEM 


CHAPTER I 

It was a little before eight o’clock in the morning when Yakov 
Petrovitch Golyadkin, a titular councillor, woke up from a 
long sleep. He yawned, stretched, and at last opened his eyes 
completely. For two minutes, however, he lay in his bed with- 
out moving, as though he were not yet quite certain whether he 
were awake or still asleep, whether all that was going on around 
him were real and actual, or the continuation of his confused 
dxeams. Very soon, however, Mr. Golyadkin’s senses began 
more clearly and more distinctly to receive their habitual and 
everyday impressions. The dirty green, smoke-begrimed, dusty 
walls of his little room, with the mahogany chest of drawers and 
chairs, the table painted red, the sofa covered with American 
leather of a reddish colour with little green flowers on it, and the 
clothes taken off in haste overnight and flung in a crumpled 
heap on the sofa, looked at him familiarly. At last the damp 
autumn day, muggy and dirty, peeped into the room through 
the dingy window pane with such a hostile, sour grimace that 
Mr. Golyadkin could not possibly doubt that he was not in the 
land of Nod, but in the city of Petersburg, in his own flat on the 
fourth storey of a huge block of buildings in Shestilavotchny 
Street. When he had made this important discovery Mr. 
Golyadkin nervously closed his eyes, as though regretting his 
dream and wanting to go back to it for a moment. But a 
minute later he leapt out of bed at one bound, probably all at 
once grasping the idea about which his scattered and wandering 
thoughts had been revolving. From his bed he ran straight to 
a little round looking-glass that stood on his chest of drawers. 
Though the sleepy, short-sighted countenance and rather bald 
head reflected in the looking-glass were of such an insignificant 
type that at first sight they would certainly not have attracted 
particular attention in any one, yet the owner of the countenance 

138 



was satisfied with all that he saw in the looking-glass. “ What 
a thing it would be,” said Mr. Golyadkin in an undertone, “ what 
a thing it would be if I were not up to the mark to-day, if some- 
thing were amiss, if some intrusive pimple had made its appear- 
ance, or anything else unpleasant had happened ; so far, however, 
there’s nothing wrong, so far everything’s all right.” 

Greatly relieved that everything waB all right, Mr Golyadkin 
put the looking-glass back in its place and, although he had 
nothing on his feet and was still in the attire in which he was 
accustomed to go to bed, he ran to the little window and with 
great interest began looking for something in the courtyard, 
upon which the windows of his flat looked out. Apparently 
what he was looking for in the yard quite satisfied him too; 
his face beamed with a self-satisfied smile. Then, after first 
peeping, however, behind the partition into his valet Petrushka’s 
little room and making sure that Petrushka was not there, he 
went on tiptoe to the table, opened the drawer in it and, fum- 
bling in the furthest comer of it, he took from under old yellow 
papers and all sorts of rubbish a shabby green pocket-book, 
opened it cautiously, and with care and relish peeped into the 
furthest and most hidden fold of it. Probably the roll of green, 
grey, blue, red and particoloured notes looked at Golyadkin, 
too, with approval : with a radiant face he laid the open pocket- 
book before him and rubbed his hands vigorously in token of 
the greatest satisfaction. Finally, he took it out — his comforting 
roll of notes — and, for the hundredth time since the previous 
day, counted them over, carefully smoothing out every note 
between his forefinger and his thumb. 

“ Seven hundred and fifty roubles in notes,” he concluded at 
last, in a half- whisper. “ Seven hundred and fifty roubles, a 
noteworthy sum ! It’s an agreeable sum,” he went on, in a voice 
weak and trembling with gratification, as he pinched the roll 
with his fingers and smiled significantly ; “ it’s a very agreeable 
sum ! A sum agreeable to any one ! I should like to see the 
man to whom that would be a trivial sum ! There’s no knowing 
what a man might not do with a sum like that. . . . What’s 
the meaning of it, though ? ” thought Mr. Golyadkin ; “ where’s 
Petrushka ? ” And still in the same attire he peeped behind the 
partition again. Again there was no sign of Petrushka; and 
the samovar standing on the floor was beside itself, fuming and 
raging in solitude, threatening every minute to boil over, hissing 
and lisping in its mysterious language, to Mr. Golyadkin 

139 



something like, “ Take me, good people, I’m boiling and perfectly 
ready.” 

“Damn the follow,” thought Mr. Golyadkin. “That lazy 
brute might really drive a man out of all patience ; where’s he 
dawdling now ? ” 

In just indignation he went out into the hall, whieh consisted 
of a little corridor at the end of which was a door into the entry, 
and saw his servant surrounded by a good-sized group of lackeys 
of all sorts, a mixed rabble from outside as well as from the flats 
of the house. Petrushka was telling something, the others were 
listening. Apparently the subject of the conversation, or the 
conversation itself, did not please Mr. Golyadkin. He promptly 
called Petrushka and returned to his room, displeased and even 
upset. “ That beast would sell a man for a halfpenny, and his 
master before any one,” he thought to himself : “ and he has sold 
me, he oertainly has. I bet he has sold me for a farthing. Well?” 

“ They’ve brought the livery, sir.” 

“ Put it on, and come here.” 

When he had put on his livery, Petrushka, with a stupid smile 
on his face, went in to his master. His costume was incredibly 
strange. He had on a much-worn green livery, with frayed gold 
braid on it, apparently made for a man a yard taller than 
Petrushka. In his hand he had a hat trimmed with the same gold 
braid and with a feather in it, and at his hip hung a footman s 
sword in a leather sheath. Finally, to complete the picture, 
Petrushka, who always liked to be in negligt , was barefooted. 
Mr. Golyadkin looked at Petrushka from all sides and was 
apparently satisfied. The livery had evidently been hired for 
some solemn occasion. It might be observed, too, that during 
his master’s inspection Petrushka watched him with strange 
expectancy and with marked curiosity followed every movement 
he made, which extremely embarrassed Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ Well, and how about the carriage ? ” 

“ The carriage is here too.” 

“ For the whole day ? ” 

“ For the whole day. Twenty-five roubles.” 

“ And have the boots been sent ? ” 

“ Yes.” 

“ Dolt ! can’t even say, ‘ Yes, sir.’ Bring them here.” 

Expressing his satisfaction that the boots fitted, Mr. Golyadkin 
asked for his tea, and for water to wash and shave. He shaved 
with great care and washed as scrupulously, hurriedly sipped his 

140 



tea and proceeded to the principal final process of attiring himself : 
he put on an almost new pair of trousers ; then a shirtfront with 
brass studs, and a very bright and agreeably flowered waistcoat ; 
about his neck he tied a gay, particoloured cravat, and finally 
drew on his coat, which was also newish and carefully brushed. 
As he dressed, he more than once looked lovingly at his boots, 
lifted up first one leg and then the other, admired their shape, 
kept muttering something to himself, and from time to time made 
expressive grimaces. Mr. Golyadkin was, however, extremely 
absent-minded that morning, for he scarcely noticed the little 
smiles and grimaces made at his expense by Petrushka, who was 
helping him dress. At last, having arranged everything properly 
and having finished dressing, Mr. Golyadkin put his pocket- 
book in his pocket, took a final admiring look at Petrushka, who 
had put on his boots and was therefore also quite ready, and, 
noticing that everything was done and that there was nothing 
left to wait for, he ran hurriedly and fussily out on to the stairs, 
with a slight throbbing at his heart. The light-blue hired 
carriage with a crest on it rolled noisily up to the steps. 
Petrushka, winking to the driver and some of the gaping crowd, 
helped his master into the carriage ; and, hardly able to suppress 
an idiotic laugh, shouted in an unnatural voice : “ Off ! ” 

jumped up on the footboard, and the whole turnout, clattering 
and rumbling noisily, rolled into the Nevsky Prospect. As 
soon as the light-blue carriage dashed out of the gate, Mr. Golyad- 
kin rubbed his hands convulsively and went off into a slow, 
noiseless chuckle, like a jubilant man who has succeeded in 
bringing off a splendid performance and is as pleased as Punch 
with the performance himself. Immediately after his access 
of gaiety, however, laughter was replaced by a strange and 
anxious expression on the face of Mr. Golyadkin. Though the 
weather was damp and muggy, he let down both windows of 
the carriage and began carefully scrutinizing the passers-by to 
left and to right, at once assuming a decorous and sedate air 
when he thought any one was looking at him. At the turning 
from Liteyny Street into the Nevsky Prospect he was startled 
by a most unpleasant sensation and, frowning like some poor 
wretch whose com has been accidentally trodden on, he huddled 
with almost panic-stricken haste into the darkest corner of his 
carriage. 

He had seen two of his colleagues, two young clerks serving 
in the same government department. The young clerks were 

141 



also, it seemed to Mr. Golyadkin, extremely amazed at meeting 
their colleague in such a way ; one of them, in fact, pointed him 
out to the other. Mr. Golyadkin even fancied that the other had 
actually called his name, which, of course, was very unseemly 
in the street. Our hero concealed himself and did not respond. 
“ The silly youngsters ! ” he began reflecting to himself. “ Why, 
what is there strange in it ? A man in a carriage, a man needs 
to be in a carriage, and so he hires a carriage. They're simply 
noodles ! I know them — simply silly youngsters, who still 
need thrashing ! They want to be paid a salary for playing 
pitch-farthing and dawdling about, that’s all they’re fit for 
I'd let them all know, if only . . .” 

Mr. Golyadkin broke off suddenly, petrified. A smart pair 
of Kazan horses, very familiar to Mr. Golyadkin, in a fashionable 
droshky, drove rapidly by on the right side of his carriage. 
The gentleman sitting in the droshky, happening to catch a 
glimpse of Mr. Golyadkin, who was rather incautiously poking 
his head out of the carriage window, also appeared to be ex- 
tremely astonished at the unexpected meeting and, bending 
out as far as he could, looked with the greatest curiosity and 
interest into the corner of the carriage in which our hero made 
haste to conceal himself. The gentleman in the droshky was 
Andrey Filippovitch, the head of the office in which Mr. Golyad- 
kin served in the capacity of assistant to the chief clerk. Mr. 
Golyadkin, seeing that Andrey Filippovitch recognized him, 
that he was looking at him open-eyed and that it was impossible 
to hide, blushed up to his ears. 

“ Bow or not ? Call back or not ? Recognize him or not ? ” 
our hero wondered in indescribable anguish, “ or pretend that 
I am not myself, but somebody else strikingly like me, and look 
as though nothing were the matter. Simply not I, not I — and 
that’s all,” said Mr. Golyadkin, taking off his hat to Andrey 
Filippovitch and keeping his eyes fixed upon him. “ I'm . . . 
I'm all right,” he whispered with an effort ; “ I’m . . . quite all 
right. It's not I, it’s not I — and that is the fact of the matter.” 

Soon, however, the droshky passed the carriage, and the 
magnetism of his chief's eyes was at an end. Yet he went on 
blushing, smiling and muttering something to himself. . . 

“ I was a fool not to call back,” he thought at last. 4t I 
ought to have taken a bolder line and behaved with gentlemanly 
openness. I ought to have said * This is how it is, Andrey Filippo- 
vitch, I’m asked to the dinner too/ and that's all it is ! ” 

142 



Then, suddenly recalling how taken aback he had been, our 
hero flushed as hot as fire, frowned, and cast a terrible defiant 
glance at the front comer of the carriage, a glance calculated 
to reduce all his foes to ash^p. At last, he was suddenly inspired 
to pull the cord attached to the driver’s elbow, and stopped 
the carriage, telling him to drive back to Liteyny Street. The 
fact was, it was urgently necessary for Mr. Golyadkin, probably 
for the sake of his own peace of mind, to say something very 
interesting to his doctor, Krestyan Ivanovitch. And, though 
he had made Krestyan Ivanovitch’s acquaintance quite recently, 
having, indeed, only paid him a single visit, and that one the 
previous week, to consult him about some symptom. But a 
doctor, as they say, is like a priest, and it would be stupid for 
him to keep out of sight, and, indeed, it was his duty to know 
his patients. “ Will it be all right, though,” our hero went on, 
getting out of the carriage at the door of a five-storey house in 
Liteyny Street, at which he had told the driver to stop the 
carriage : “ Will it be all right ? Will it be proper ? Will it be 

appropriate? After all, though,” he went on, thinking as he 
mounted the stairs out of breath and trying to suppress the beat- 
ing of his heart, which had the habit of beating on all other 
people’s staircases : “ After all, it’s on my own business and 

there’s nothing reprehensible in it. . . . It would be stupid to 
keep out of sight. Why, of course, I shall behave as though I 
were quite all right, and have simply looked in as I passed. . . . 
He will see, that it’s all just as it should be.” 

Reasoning like this, Mr. Golyadkin mounted to the second 
storey and stopped before flat number five, on which there 
was a handsome brass door-plate vith the inscription — 

Krestyan Ivanovttch Rutenspitz 
Doctor of Medicine and Surgery 

Stopping at the door, our hero made haste to assume an air 
of propriety, ease, and even of a certain affability, and prepared 
to pull the bell. As he was about to do so he promptly and 
rather appropriately reflected that it might be better to come 
to-morrow, and that it was not very pressing for the moment. 
But as he suddenly heard footsteps on the stairs, he immediately 
changed his mind again and at once rang Krestyan Ivanovitch’s 
bell — with an air, moreover, of great determination. 

143 



CHAPTER n 

The doctor of medicine and surgery, Krestyan Ivanovitch 
Rutenspitz, a very hale, though elderly man, with thick eyebrows 
and whiskers that were beginning to turn grey, eyes with an ex- 
pressive gleam in them that looked capable of routing every 
disease, and, lastly, with orders of some distinction on his breast, 
was sitting in his consulting-room that morning in his comfortable 
armchair. He was drinking coffee, which his wife had brought 
him with her own hand, smoking a cigar and from time to time 
writing prescriptions tor his patients. After prescribing a 
draught for an old man who was suffering from haemorrhoids and 
seeing the aged patient out by the side door, Krestyan Ivanovitch 
sat down to await the next visitor. 

Mr. Golyadkin walked in. 

Apparently Krestyan Ivanovitch did not in the least expect 
nor desire to see Mr. Golyadkin, for he was suddenly taken aback 
for a moment, and his countenance unconsciously assumed a 
strange and, one may almost say, a displeased expression. As 
Mr. Golyadkin almost always turned up inappropriately and was 
thrown into confusion whenever he approached any one about 
his own little affairs, on this occasion, too, he was desperately 
embarrassed. Having neglected to get ready his first sentence, 
which was invariably a stumbling-block for him on such occa- 
sions, he muttered something — apparently an apology — and, 
not knowing what to do next, took a chair and sat down, but, 
realizing that he had sat down without being asked to do so, 
he was immediately conscious of his lapse, and made haste to 
efface his offence against etiquette and good breeding by promptly 
getting up again from the seat he had taken uninvited. Then, 
on second thoughts, dimly perceiving that he had committed 
two stupid blunders at once, he immediately decided to commit 
a third — that is, tried to right himself, muttered something, 
smiled, blushed, was overcome with embarrassment, sank into 
expressive silence, and finally sat down for good and did not get 
up again. Only, to protect himself from all contingencies, he 
looked at the doctor with that defiant glare which had an 
extraordinary power of figuratively crushing Mr. Golyadkin’s 
enemies and reducing them to ashes. This glance, moreover, 
expressed to the full Mr. Golyadkin’s independence — that is, 
to speak plainly, the fact that Mr. Golyadkin wa a “ all right/’ 

144 



that he was “ quite himself, like everybody else,” and that there 
' was “ nothing wrong in his upper storey.” Krestyan Ivanovitch 
coughed, cleared his throat, apparently in token of approval 
and assent to all this, and bent an inquisitorial interrogative 
gaze upon his visitor. 

“ I have come to trouble you a second time, Krestyan Ivano- 
vitch,” began Mr. Golyadkin, with a smile, “ and now I venture 
to ask your indulgence a second time. . . .” He was obviously 
at a loss for words. 

“ H’m . . . Yes ! ” pronounced Krestyan Ivanovitch, puffing 
out a spiral of smoke and putting down his cigar on the table, 
” but you must follow the treatment prescribed you ; I explained 
to you that what would be beneficial to your health is a change 
of habits. . . . Entertainment, for instance, and, well, friends — 
you should visit your acquaintances, and not be hostile to the 
bottle; and likewise keep cheerful company.” 

Mr. Golyadkin, still smiling, hastened to observe that he thought 
he was like every one else, that he lived by himself, that he had 
entertainments like every one else . . . that, of course, he might 
go to the theatre, for he had the means like every one else, that 
he spent the day at the office and the evenings at home, that 
he was quite all right ; he even observed, in passing, that he was, 
so far as he could see, as good as any one, that he lived at home, 
and, finally, that he had Petrushka. At this point Mr. Golyadkin 
hesitated. 

“ H’m ! no, that is not the order of proceeding I want; and 
that is not at all what I would ask you. I am interested to 
know, in general, are yOu a great lover of cheerful company ? 
Do you take advantages of festive occasions ; and, well, do you 
lead a melancholy or cheerful manner of life ? ” 

" Krestyan Ivanovitch, I . . .” 

“ H’m ! . . . I tell you,” interrupted the doctor, “ that you 
must have a radical change of life, must, in a certain sense, 
break in your character.” (Krestyan Ivanovitch laid special 
stress on the word “ break in,” and paused for a moment with 
a very significant air.) “ Must not shrink from gaiety, must 
visit entertainments and clubs, and in any case, be not hostile 
to the bottle. Sitting at home is not right for you . . . sitting 
at home is impossible for you.” 

” I like quiet, Krestyan Ivanovitch,” said Mr. Golyadkin, 
with a significant look at the doctor and evidently seeking 
words to express his ideas more successfully : “In my flat 

L 145 



there’s only me and Petrushka. ... I mean my man, Kresty an 
Ivanovitch. I mean to say, Krestyan Ivanovitch, that I go 
my way, my own way, Krestyan Ivanovitch. I keep myself 
to myself, and so far as I oan see am not dependent on any one. 
I go out for walks, too, Krestyan Ivanovitch.” 

“What? Yes! well, nowadays there's nothing agreeable 
in walking : the climate's extremely bad.” 

" Quite so, Krestyan Ivanovitch. Though I'm a peaceable 
man, Krestyan Ivanovitch, as I've had the honour of explaining 
to you already, yet my way lies apart, Krestyan Ivanovitch. 
The ways of life are manifold. ... I mean ... I mean to say, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch. . . . Excuse me, Krestyan Ivanovitch, 
I’ve no great gift for eloquent speaking.” 

“ H’m . . . you say . . .” 

“ I say, you must excuse me, Krestyan Ivanovitch, that as 
far as I can see I am no great hand at eloquence in speaking,” 
Mr. Golyadkin articulated, stammering and hesitating, in a 
half-aggrieved voice. “ In that respect, Krestyan Ivanovitch, 
I’m not quite like other people,” he added, with a peculiar smile, 
" I can’t talk much, and have never learnt to embellish jny 
speech with literary graces. On the other hand, I act, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch; on the other hand, I act, Krestyan Ivanovitch.” 

“ H'm . , . How’s that . . . you act ? ” responded Krestyan 
Ivanovitch. 

Then silence followed for half a minute. The doctor looked 
somewhat strangely and mistrustfully at his visitor. Mr. 
Golyadkin, for his part, too, stole a rather mistrustful glance at 
the doctor. 

44 Krestyan Ivanovitch,” he began, going on again in the 
same tone as before, somewhat irritated and puzzled by the 
doctor’s extreme obstinacy : “ I like tranquillity and not the 
noisy gaiety of the world. Among them, I mean, in the noisy 
world, Krestyan Ivanovitch, one must be able to polish the 
floor with one’s boots ...” (here Mr. Golyadkin made a slight 
scrape on the floor with his toe) ; 44 they expect it, and they 
expect puns too . . . one must know how to make a perfumed 
compliment . . . that's what they expect there. And I’ve 
not learnt to do it, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I’ve never learnt all 
those tricks, I’ve never had the time. I’m a simple person, 
and not ingenious, and I’ve no external polish. On that side 
I surrender, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I lay down my arms, speaking 
in that sense.” 


146 



• All this Mr, Golyadkin pronounced with an air which made 
it perfectly clear that our hero was far from regretting that he 
was laying down his arms in that sense and that he had not 
learnt these tricks; quite the contrary, indeed. As Krestyan 
Ivanovitch listened to him, he looked down with a very un- 
pleasant grimace on his face, seeming to have a presentiment 
of something. Mr. Golyadkin’s tirade was followed by % rather 
long and significant silence. 

“ You have, I think, departed a little from the subject/’ 
Krestyan Ivanovitch said at last, in a low voice : “I confess 
I cannot altogether understand you.” 

“ I’m not a great hand at eloquent speaking, Krestyan Ivano- 
vitch ; I’ve had the honour to inform you, Krestyan Ivanovitch, 
already,” said Mr. Golyadkin, speaking this time in a sharp 
and resolute tone. 

" H’m ! ” . . . 

“ Krestyan Ivanovitch ! ” began Mr. Golyadkin again in a 
low but more significant voice in a somewhat solemn style 
and emphasizing every point : “ Krestyan Ivanovitch, when 1 

came in here I began with apologies. I repeat the same thing 
again, and again ask for your indulgence. There’s no need 
for me to conceal it, Krestyan Ivanovitch. I’m an unimportant 
man, as you know; but, fortunately for me, I do not regret 
being an unimportant man. Quite the contrary, indeed, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch, and, to be perfectly frank, I’m proud that I’m not a 
great man but an unimportant man. I’m not one to intrigue 
and I’m proud of that too, I don’t act on the sly, but openly, 
without cunning, and although I could do harm too, and a great 
deal of harm, indeed, and know to whom and how to do it, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch, yet I won’t sully myself, and in that 
sense I wash my hands. In that sense, I say, 1 wash them, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch ! ” Mr. Golyadkin paused expressively 
for a moment ; he spoke with mild fervour. 

“ I set to work, Krestyan Ivanovitch,” our hero continued, 

“ directly, openly, by no devious ways, for I disdain them, and 
leave them to others. I do not try to degrade those who are 
perhaps purer than you and I . . . that is, I mean, I* and they, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch — I didn’t mean you. I don’t like insinua- 
tions; I’ve no taste for contemptible duplicity; I’m disgusted 
by slander and calumny. I only put on a mask at a masquerade, 
and don’t wear one before people every day. I only ask you, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch, how you would revenge yourself upon 

147 



your enemy, your most malignant enemy — the one yon would 
consider such ? " Mr. Golyadkin concluded with a challenging 
glance at Krestyan Ivanovitch. 

Though Mr. Golyadkin pronounced this with the utmost 
distinctness and clearness, weighing his words with a self-con- 
fident air and reckoning on their probable effect, yet meanwhile 
he looked at Krestyan Ivanovitch with anxiety, with great 
anxiety, with extreme anxiety. Now he was all eyes : and timidly 
waited for the doctor’s answer with irritable and agonized 
impatience. But to the perplexity and complete amazement 
of our hero, Krestyan Ivanovitch only muttered something to 
himself ; then he moved his armchair up to the table, and rather 
drily though politely announced something to the effect that 
his time was precious, and that he did not quite understand; 
that he was ready, however, to attend to him as far as he was 
able, but he would not go into anything further that did not 
concern him. At this point he took the pen, drew a piece of 
paper towards him, cut out of it the usual long strip, and 
announced that he would immediately prescribe what was 
necessary. x 

“ No, it’s not necessary, Krestyan Ivanovitch ! No, that’s 
not necessary at all ! ” said Mr. Golyadkin, getting up from his 
seat, and clutching Krestyan Ivanovitch’s right hand. “ That 
isn’t what’s wanted, Krestyan Ivanovitch.” 

And, while he said this, a queer change came over him. His 
grey eyes gleamed strangely, his lips began to quiver, all the 
muscles, all the features of his face began moving and working. 
He waff trembling all over. After stopping the doctor’s hand, 
Mr. Golyadkin followed his first movement by standing motion- 
less, as though he had no confidence in himself and were waiting 
for some inspiration for further action. 

Then followed a rather strange scene. 

Somewhat perplexed, Krestyan Ivanovitch seemed for a mo- 
ment rooted to his chair and gazed open-eyed in bewilderment 
at Mr. Golyadkin, who looked at him in exactly the same way. 
At last Krestyan Ivanovitch stood up, gently holding the lining 
of Mr. Golyadkin’s coat. For some seconds they both stood 
like that, motionless, with their eyes fixed on each other. Then, 
however, in an extraordinarily strange way came Mr. Golyadkin’s 
seoond movement. His lips trembled, his chin began twitching, 
and our hero quite unexpectedly burst into tears. Sobbing, 
shaking his head and striking himself on the chest with his 

148 



right hand, while with his left clutching the lining of the doctor's 
coat, he tried to say something and to make some explanation, 
but could not utter a word. 

At last Krestyan Ivanovitch recovered from his amazement. 

“ Come, calm yourself ! ” he brought out at last, trying to 
make Mr. Golyadkin sit down in an armchair. 

“I have enemies, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I have enemies; 
I have malignant enemies who have sworn to ruin me . . .” 
Mr. Golyadkin answered in a frightened whisper. 

“ Come, come, why enemies ? you mustn’t talk about enemies ! 
You really mustn’t. Sit down, sit down,” Krestyan Ivanovitch 
went on, getting Mr. Golyadkin once for all into the armchair. 

Mr. Golyadkin sat down at last, still keeping his eyes fixed 
on the doctor. With an extremely displeased air, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch strode from one end of the room to another. A long 
silence followed. 

“ I’m grateful to you, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I’m very grateful, 
and I’m very sensible of all you’ve done for me now. To my dying 
day I shall never forget your kindness, Krestyan Ivanovitch,” 
said Mr. Golyadkin, getting up from his seat with an offended air. 

“ Come, give over ! I tell you, give over ! ” Krestyan 
Ivanovitch responded rather sternly to Mr. Golyadkin’s outburst, 
making him sit down again. 

41 Well, what’s the matter ? Tell me what is unpleasant,” 
Krestyan Ivanovitch went on, 44 and what enemies are you 
talking about ? What is wrong ? ” 

” No, Krestyan Ivanovitch, we’d bettei leave that now,” 
answered Mr. Golyadkin, casting down his eyes; 44 let us put all 
that aside for the time. . . . Till another time, Krestyan Ivano- 
vitch, till a more convenient moment, when everything will be 
discovered and the mask falls off certain faces, and something 
comes to light. But, meanwhile, now, of course, after what has 
passed between us . . . you will agree yourself, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch. . . . Allow me to wish you good morning, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch, "said Mr. Golyadkin, get ting up gravelyand resolutely 
and taking his hat. 

44 Oh, well ... as you like . . . h’m . . .” (A moment of 
silence followed.) “ For my part, you know . . . whatever I 
can do . . . and I sincerely wish you well.” 

” I understand you, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I understand : I 
understand you perfectly now ... In any case excuse me for 
having troubled you, Krestyan Ivanovitch.” 

149 



44 H’m, no, I didn’t mean that. However, as you please ; go . 
on taking the medicines as before. ...” 

“ I will go on with the medicines as you say, Krestyan Ivano- 
vitch. I will go on with them, and I will get them at the same 
chemist’s ... To be a chemist nowadays, Krestyan Ivanovitch, 
is an important business. . . 

44 How so ? In what sense do you mean ? ” 

"In a very ordinary sense, Krestyan Ivanovitch. I mean to 
say that nowadays that’s the way of the world. . ” 

44 H’m. . . ” 

14 And that every silly youngster, not only a chemist’s boy 
turns up his nose at respectable people.” 

44 H’m. How do you understand that ? ” 

14 I’m speaking of a certain person, Krestyan Ivanovitch . . . 
of a common acquaintance of ours, Krestyan Ivanovitch, of 
Vladimir Semyono vitch. . . 

44 Ah!” 

44 Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch : and I know certain people, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch, who don’t quite keep to the general rule 
of telling the truth, sometimes.” 

44 Ah! How so?” 

44 Why, yes, it is so : but that’s neither here nor there : they 
sometimes manage to serve you up a fine egg in gravy.*’ 

44 What ? Serve up what ? ” 

44 An egg in gravy, Krestyan Ivanovitch. It’s a Russian 
saying. They know how to congratulate some one at the right 
moment, for instance ; there are people like that.” 

“ Congratulate ? ” 

44 Yes, congratulate, Krestyan Ivanovitch, as some one I know 
very well did the other day ! ” . . . 

44 Some one you know very well ... Ah ! how was that ? ” 
said Krestyan Ivanovitch, looking attentively at Mr. Golyadkin. 

44 Yes, some one I know very well indeed congratulated some one 
else I know very well — and, what’s more, a comrade, a friend of 
his heart, on his promotion, on his receiving the rank of assessor. 
This was how it happened to come up : ‘I am exceedingly glad of 
the opportunity to offer you, Vladimir Semyono vitch, my con- 
gratulations, my sincere congratulations, on your receiving the 
rank of assessor. And I’m the more pleased, as all the world 
knows that there are old women nowadays who tell fortunes.* ” 

At this point Mr Golyadkin gave a sly nod, and screwing up 
his eyes, looked at Krestyan Ivanovitch. 

150 


• • • 



44 H’m. So he said that. . . .” 

44 He did, Krestyan Ivanovitch, he said it and glanced at 
once at Audrey Filippovitch, the uncle of our Prince Charming, 
Vladimir Semyonovitch. But what is it to me, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch, that he has been made an assessor ? What is it to 
me ? And he wants to get married and the milk is scarcely 
dry on his lips , if I may be allowed the expression. And I said 
as much. Vladimir Semyonvitch, said I ! I’ve said everything 
now; allow me to withdraw.” 

(« TT»__ >> 

n m . . . 

44 Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch, allow me now, I say, to withdraw. 
But, to kill two birds with one ptone, as I twitted our young 
gentleman with the old women, I turned to Klara Olsufyevna 
(it all happened the day before yesterday at Olsufy Ivanovitch’s), 
and she had only just sung* song full of feeling, 1 You’ve sung 
songs full of feeling, madam,’ said I, ‘ but they’ve not been listened 
to with a pure heart.* And by that I hinted plainly, Krestyan 
Ivanovitch, hinted plainly, that they were not running after her 
now, but looking higher . . .** 

44 Ah ! And what did he say ? *’ 

44 He swallowed the pill, Krestyan Ivanovitch, as the saying is.” 

44 H’m . . .” 

44 Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch. To the old man himself, too, 
I said, 4 Olsufy Ivanovitch,* said I, 4 1 know how much I’m 
indebted to you, I appreciate to the full all the kindness you’ve 
showered upon me from my childhood up. But open your eyes, 
Olsufy Ivanovitch,* I said. 4 Look about you. I myself do things 
openly and aboveboard, Olsufy Ivanovitch.’ *’ 

44 Oh, really ! ** 

44 Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch. Really . . .’* 

44 What did he Bay 1 ** 

44 Yes, what, indeed, Krestyan Ivanovitch ? He mumbled one 
thing and another, and 4 1 know you,* and that 1 his Excellency 
was a benevolent man * — he rambled on. . . . But, there, you 
know ! he’s begun to be a bit shaky, as they say, with old age.** 

44 Ah ! so that’s how it is now . . .’* 

44 Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch. And that’s how we all are ! 
Poor old man ! He looks towards the grave, breathes incense, 
as they say, while they concoot a piece of womanish gossip and 
he listens to it ; without him they wouldn’t . . .** 

44 Gossip, you say ? ** 

44 Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch, they’ve concocted a womanish 

I5i 



scandal. Our beat, too, had a huger in it, and hia nephew our 
Prince Charming. They've joined hands with the old women 
and, of course, they’ve concocted the affair. Would you believe 
it? They plotted the murder of some one ! . . ” 

“ The murder of some one ? ” 

“ Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch, the moral murder of jw>me one. 
They spread about . . . I’m speaking of a man I know verv 
well.” 

Krestyan Ivanovitch nodded. 

“ They spread rumours about him ... I confess I’m ashamed 
to repeat them, Krestyan Ivanovitch.” 

H m. ... 

“ They spread a rumour that he had signed a promise to marry 
though he- was already engaged in another quarter . . . and 
would you believe it, Krestyan Ivanovitch, to whom ? ” 
“Really?” 

“ To a cook, to a disreputable German woman from whom 
he used to get his dinners; instead of paying what he owed, 
he offered her his hand.” 

“ Is that what they say ? ” 

“ Would you believe it, Krestyan Ivanovitch ? A low German, 
a nasty, shameless German, Karolina Ivanovna, if you know ...” 

“ I confess, for my part . . .” 

“ I understand you, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I understand, and 
for my part I feel it . . .” 

“ Tell me, please, where are you living now ? ” 

“ Where am I living now, Krestyan Ivanovitch ? ” 

“ Yes ... I want ... I believe, you used to live . . .” 

“ Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I did, I used to. To be sure I 
lived ! ” answered Mr. Golyadkin, accompanying his words with a 
little laugh, and somewhat disconcerting Krestyan Ivanovitch 
by his answer. 

“ No, you misunderstood me ; I meant to say . . . 

“ I, too, meant to say, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I meant it too,” 
Mr. Golyadkin continued, laughing. “ But I’ve kept you far 
too long, Krestyan Ivanovitch. I hope you will allow me now, 
to wish you good morning.” 

“ H’m. . . .” 

“ Yes, Krestyan Ivanovitch, I understand you ; I fully 
understand you now,” said our hero, with a slight flourish before 
Krestyan Ivanovitch. “ And so permit me to wish you good 
morning. . . .” 


152 



At this point our hero made a scrape with the toe of his boot 
and walked out of the room, leaving Kresty an Ivanovitch in 
the utmost amazement. As he went down the doctor’s stairs 
he smiled and rubbed his hands gleefully. On the steps, breath- 
ing the fresh air and feeling himself at liberty, he was certainly 
prepared to admit that he was the happiest of mortals, and 
thereupon to go straight to his office — when suddenly his carriage 
rumbled up to the door : he glanced at it and remembered 
everything. Petrushka was already opening the carriage door. 
Mr. Golyadkin was completely overwhelmed by a strong and 
unpleasant sensation. He blushed, as it were, for a moment. 
Something seemed to stab him. He was just about to raise his 
foot to the carriage step when he suddenly turned round and 
looked towards Krestyan Ivanovitch’s window. Yes, it was 
so ! Krestyan Ivanovitch was standing at the window, was 
stroking his whiskers with his right hand and staring with some 
curiosity at the hero of our story. 

“ That doctor is silly, ” thought Mr. Golyadkin, huddling out 
of sight in the carriage ; “ extremely silly. He may treat his 
patients all right, but still ... he’s as stupid as a post.” 

Mr. Golyadkin sat down, Petrushka shouted “ Ofi I ” and the 
carriage rolled towards Nevsky Prospect again. 


CHAPTER III 

All that morning was spent by Mr. Golyadkin in a strange 
bustle of activity. On reaching the Nevsky Prospect our hero 
told the driver to stop at the bazaar. Skipping out of his 
carriage, he ran to the Arcade, accompanied by Petrushka, and 
went straight to a shop where gold and silver articles were for 
sale. One could see from his very air that he was overwhelmed 
with business and had a terrible amount to do. Arranging to 
purchase a complete dinner- and tea-service for fifteen hundred 
roubles and including in the bargain for that sum a cigar-case 
of ingenious form and a silver shaving-set, and finally, asking 
the price of some other articles, useful and agreeable in their 
own way, he ended by promising to come without fail next day, 
or to send for his purchases the same day. He took the number 
of the shop, and listening attentively to the shopkeeper, who 
was very pressing for a small deposit, said that he should have 
it all in good time. After which he took leave of the amazed 

153 



shopkeeper and, followed by a regular flock of shopmen, walked 
along the Arcade, continually looking round at Petrushka and 
diligently seeking out fresh shops. On the way he dropped 
into a money-changer’s and ohanged all his big notes into small 
ones, and though he lost on the exchange, his pocket-book was 
considerably fatter, which evidently afforded him extreme 
satisfaction. Finally, he stopped at a shop for ladies’ dress 
materials. Here, too, after deciding to purchase goods for a 
considerable sum, Mr. Golyadkin promised to come again, 
took the number of the shop and, on being asked for a deposit, 
assured the shopkeeper that “ he should have a deposit too, 
all in good time. ,, Then he visited several other shops, making 
purchases in each of them, asked the price of various things, 
sometimes arguing a long time with the shopkeeper, going out 
out of the shop and returning two or three times — in fact he dis- 
played exceptional activity. From the Arcade our hero went 
to a well-known furniture shop, where he ordered fumituro 
for six rooms; he admired a fashionable and very ingenious 
toilet table for ladies’ use in the latest style, and, assuring the shop- 
keeper that he would certainly send for all these things, walked 
out of the shop, as usual promising a deposit. Then he went 
off somewhere else and ordered something more. In short, 
there seemed to be no end to the business he had to get through. 
At last, Mr. Golyadkin seemed to grow heartily sick of it all, 
and he began, goodness knows why, to be tormented by the 
stings of conscience. Nothing would have induced him now, 
for instance, to meet Andrey Filippovitch, or even Rrestyan 
Ivantfvitch. 

At last, the town clock struck three. When Mr. Golyadkin 
finally took his seat in the carriage, of all the purchases he had 
made that morning he had, it appeared, in reality only got a 
pair of gloves and a bottle of scent, that cost a rouble and a half. 
As it was still rather early, he ordered his coachman to stop near 
a well-known restaurant in Nevsky Prospect which he only knew 
by reputation, got out of the carriage, and hurried in to have a 
light lunch, to rest and to wait for the hour fixed for the dinner. 

Lunching as a man lunches who has the prospect before him 
of going out to a sumptuous dinner, that is, taking a snack of some- 
thing in order to still the pangs, as they say, and drinking one 
small glass of vodka, Mr. Golyadkin established himself in an 
armchair and, modestly looking about him, peacefully settled 
down to an emaciated nationalist paper. After reading a couple 

154 



of lines he stood up and looked in the looking-glass, set himself 
to rights and smoothed himself down; then he went to the 
window and looked to see whether his carriage was there . . . 
then he sat down again in his place and took up the paper. It 
was noticeable that our hero was in great excitement. Glancing 
at his watch and seeing that it was only a quarter past three 
and that he had consequently a good time to wait and, at the 
same time, opining that to sit like that was unsuitable, Mr. 
Golyadkin ordered chocolate, though he felt no particular 
inclination for it at the moment. Drinking the chocolate and 
noticing that the time had moved on a little, he went up to pay 
his bill. 

He turned round and saw facing him two of his colleagues, the 
same two he had met that morning in Liteyny Street, — young 
men, very much his juniors both in age and in rank. Our hero’s 
relations with them were neither one thing nor the other, neither 
particularly friendly nor openly hostile. Good manners were, 
of course, observed on both sides : there was no closer intimacy, 
nor could there be. The meeting at this moment was extremely 
distasteful to Mr. Golyadkin. He frowned a little, and was 
disconcerted for an instant. 

“ Yakov Petrovitch, Yakov Petrovitch ! ” chirped the two 
register clerks ; 44 you here ? what brings you 1 . . .” 

“Ah, it is you, gentlemen,” Mr. Golyadkin interrupted hurriedly, 
somewhat embarrassed and scandalized by the amazement 
of the clerks and by the abruptness of their address, but feeling 
obliged, however, to appear jaunty and free and easy. 44 You’ve 
deserted, gentlemen, he — he — he. . . Then, to keep up his 
dignity and to condescend to the juveniles, with whom he never 
overstepped certain limits, he attempted to slap one of the youths 
on the shoulder; but this effort at good fellowship did not 
succeed and, instead of being a well-bred little jest, produced 
quite a different effect. 

44 Well, and our bear, is he still at the office ? ” 

44 Who’s that, Yakov Petrovitch ? ” 

44 Why, the bear. Do you mean to say you don’t know whose 
name that is ? . . Mr. Golyadkin laughed and turned to the 
cashier to take his change. 

44 1 mean Audrey Filippovitch, gentlemen,” he went on, 
finishing With the cashier, and turning to the clerks this time 
with a very serious face. The two register clerks winked at one 
another. 


x 55 



u He’s still at the office and asking for you, Yakov Petrovitch,” 
answered one of them. 

“ At the office, eh ! In that case, let him stay, gentlemen. 
And asking for me, eh ? ” 

44 He was asking for you, Yakov Petrovitch ; but what's up 
with you, scented, pomaded, and suen a swell ? . . 

“ Nothing, gentlemen, nothing ! that's enough," answered 
Mr. Golyadkin, looking away with a constrained smile. Seeing 
that Mr. Golyadkin was smiling, the clerks laughed aloud. 
Mr. Golyadkin was a little offended. 

“ I'll tell you as friends, gentlemen," our hero said, after a 
brief silence, as though making up his mind (which, indeed, was 
the case) to reveal something to them. 44 You all know me, 
gentlemen, but hitherto you've known me only on one side. 
No one is to blame for that and I'm conscious that the fault has 
been partly my own." 

Mr. Golyadkin pursed up his lips and looked significantly at 
the clerks. The clerks winked at one another again. 

44 Hitherto, gentlemen, you have not known me. To explain 
myself here and now would not be quite appropriate. I will 
only touch on it lightly in passing. There are people, gentlemen, 
who dislike Toundabout ways and only mask themselves at 
masquerades. There are people who do not sec man's highest 
avocation in polishing the floor with their boots. There are 
people, gentlemen, who refuse to say that they are happy and 
enjoying a full life when, for instance, their trousers set properly. 
There are people, finally, who dislike dashing and whirling about 
for no object, fawning, and licking the dust, and above all, 
gentlemen, poking their noses where they are not wanted. . . . 
I've told you almost everything, gentlemen; now allow me to 
withdraw. . . 

Mr. Golyadkin paused. As the register clerks had now got 
all that they wanted, both of them with great incivility burst 
into shouts of laughter. Mr. Golyadkin flared up. 

44 Laugh away, gentlemen, laugh away for the time being I 
If you live long enough you will see," he said, with a feeling of 
offended dignity, taking his hat and retreating to the door. 

44 But I will say more, gentlemen," he added, turning for the 
last time to the register clerks, 4 4 1 will say more — you are both 
here with me face to face. This, gentlemen, is my rule : if I fail 
I don't lose heart, if I suoceed I persevere, and in any case I ’ 
am never underhand. I'm not one to intrigue— and I’m proud 

156 



*0 f it. I’ve never prided myself on diplomacy. They say, too, 
gentlemen, that the bird flies itself to the hunter. It’s true and 
I’m ready to admit it; but who’s the hunter, and who’s the 
bird in this case ? That is still the question, gentlemen ! ” 

Mr. Golyadkin subsided into eloquent silence, and, with a 
most significant air, that is, pursing up his lips and raising his 
eyebrows as high as possible, he bowed to the clerks and walked 
out, leaving them in the utmost amazement. 

“ What are your orders now ? ” Petrushka asked, rather 
gruffly ; he was probably weary of hanging about in the cold. 
“ What are your orders ? ” he asked Mr. Golyadkin, meeting 
the terrible, withering glance with which our hero had pro- 
tected himself twice already that morning, and to which he 
had recourse now for the third time as he came down the 
steps. 

“ To Ismailovsky Bridge.” 

“ To Ismailovsky Bridge ! Off ! ” 

“ Their dinner will not begin till after four, or perhaps five 
o’clock,” thought Mr. Golyadkin ; “ isn’t it early now ? However, 
I can go a little early ; besides, it’s only a family dinner. And 
so I can go sans famous , as they say among well-bred people. 
Why shouldn’t I go sans faqons ? The bear told us, too, that it 
would all be sans faqons, and so I will be the same. . . .” Such 
were Mr. Golyadkin ’s reflections and meanwhile his excitement 
grow more and more acute. It could be seen that he was pre- 
paring himself for some great enterprise, to say nothing more ; 
he muttered to himself, gesticulated with his right hand, con- 
tinually looked out of his carriage window, so that, looking at 
Mr. Golyadkin, no one would have said that he was on his way 
to a good dinner, and only a simple dinner in his family circle — 
sans faqons, as they say among well-bred people. Finally, just 
at Ismailovsky Bridge, Mr. Golyadkin pointed out a house; 
and the carriage rolled up noisily and stopped at the first entrance 
on the right. Noticing a feminine figure at the second storey 
window, Mr. Golyadkin kissed his hand to her. He had, how- 
ever, not the slightest idea what he was doing, for he felt more 
dead than alive at the moment. He got out of the carriage 
pale, distracted ; he mounted the steps, took off his hat, mechani- 
cally straightened himself, and though he felt a alight trembling 
in his knees, he went upstairs. 

“ Olsufy Ivanovitch ? ” he inquired of the man who opened 
the door.” 


157 



“ At home, air ; at least he’s not at home, his honour’s not at 
home.” 

” What ? What do you mean, my good man ? I — I’ve come 
to dinner, brother. Why, you know me,? ” 

“ To be sure I know you ! I’ve orders not to admit 
you.” 

“ You . . . you, brother . . . you must be making a mistake. 
It’s I, my boy, I’m invited ; I’ve come to dinner,” Mr. Golyadkin 
announced, taking off his coat and displaying unmistakable 
intentions of going into the room. 

“ Allow me, sir, you can’t, sir. I’ve orders not to admit you. 
I’ve orders to refuse you. That’s how it is.” 

Mr. Golyadkin turned pale. At 'that very moment the door 
of the inner room opened and Gerasimitch, Olsufy Ivanovitch’s 
old butler, came out. 

“ You see the gentleman wants to go in, Emelyan Gerasimitch, 
and I . . .” 

“ And you’re a fool, Alexeitch. Go inside and send the rascal 
Semyonitch here. It’s impossible,” he said politely but firmly, 
addressing Mr. Golyadkin. “ It’s quite impossible. His honour 
begs you to excuse him; he can’t see you.” 

“ He said he couldn’t see me ? ” Mr. Golyadkin asked un- 
certainly. “ Excuse me, Gerasimitch, why is it impossible ? ” 

“It’s quite impossible. I’ve informed your honour; they 
said 4 Ask him to excuse us.’ They can’t see you.” 

" Why not ? How’s that ? Why.” 

“ Allow me, allow me ! . . .” 

u How is it, though ? It’s out of the question ! Announce 
me. . . . How is it ? I’ve come to dinner. . . 

“ Excuse me, excuse me. . . .” 

“ Ah, well, that’s a different matter, they asked to be excused : 
but, allow me, Gerasimitch ; how is it, Gerasimitch ? ” 

” Excuse me, excuse me ! ” replied Gerasimitch, very firmly 
putting away Mr. Golyadkin’s hand and making way for 
two gentlemen who walked into the entry that very instant. 
The gentlemen in question were Andrey Filippovitch and his 
nephew, Vladimir Semyonovitch. Both of them looked with 
amazement at Mr. Golyadkin. Andrey Filippovitch seemed 
about to say something, but Mr. Golyadkin had by now made 
up his mind : he was by now walking out of Olsufy Ivanovitch’s 
entry, blushing and smiling, with eyes cast down and a coun- 
tenance of helpless bewilderment. “ I will come afterwards, 

158 



Gerasimitoh ; I will explain myself : I hope that all this will 
without delay be explained in due season. . . .” 

“ Yakov Petrovitch, Yakov Petrovitch . . .” He heard the 
voice of Andrey Filippo vitch following him. 

Mr. Golyadkin was by that time on the first landing. He 
turned quickly to Andrey Filippo vitch. 

“ What do you desire, Andrey Filippovitch ? ” he said in a 
rather resolute voice. 

“ What’s wrong with you, Yakov Petrovitch ? In what way 1” 

“ No matter, Andrey Filippovitch. I’m on my own account 
here. This is my private life, Andrey Filippovitch.” 

" What’s that ? ” 

“ I say, Andrey Filippovitch, that this is my private life, 
and as for my being here, as far as I can see, there’s nothing 
reprehensible to be found in it as regards my official relations.” 

“ What ! As regards your official . . . What’s the matter 
with you, my good sir ? ” 

“Nothing, Andrey Filippovitch, absolutely nothing; an 
impudent slut of a girl, and nothing more. ...” 

“ What ! What ? ” Andrey Filippovitch was stupefied with 
amazement. Mr. Golyadkin, who had up till then looked as 
though he would fly into Andrey Filippo vitch’s face, seeing that 
the head of his office was laughing a little, almost unconsciously 
took a step forward. Andrey Filippovitch jumped back. Mr. 
Golyadkin went up one step and then another. Andrey Filippo- 
vitch looked about him uneasily. Mr. Golyadkin mounted the 
stairs rapidly. Still more rapidly Andrey Filippovitch darted 
into the flat and slammed the door after him. Mr. Golyadkin 
was left alone. Everything grew dark before his eyes. He was 
utterly nonplussed, and stood now in a sort of senseless hesita- 
tion, as though recalling something extremely senseless, too, 
that had happened quite recently. “ Ech, ech ! ” he muttered, 
smiling with constraint. Meanwhile, there came the sounds of 
steps and voices on the stairs, probably of other guests invited 
by Olsufy Ivano vitch. Mr. Golyadkin recovered himself to 
some extent; put up his raccoon collar, concealing himself 
behind it as far as possible, and began going downstairs with 
rapid little steps, tripping and stumbling in his haste. He felt 
overcome by a sort of weakness and numbness. His confusion 
was such that, when he came out on the steps, he did not even 
wait for his carriage but walked across the muddy court to it. 
When he reached his carriage and was about to get into it, 

159 



Mr. Golyadkin inwardly uttered a desire to sink into the earth, ' 
or to hide in a mouse hole together with his carriage. It seemed 
to him that everything in Olsufy Ivanovitch’s house was looking 
at him now out of every window. He knew that he would 
certainly die on the spot if he were to go back. 

What are you laughing at, blockhead ? ” he said in a rapid 
mutter to Petrushka, who was preparing to help him into the 
carriage. 

“ What should I laugh at ? I’m not doing anything; where 
are we to drive now ?” 

“ Go home, drive on. . . ” 

“ Home, off!” shouted Petrushka, climbing on to the foot- 
board. 

“ What a crow’s croak ! ” thought Mr. Golyadkin. Mean- 
while, the carriage had driven a good distance from Ismailovsky 
Bridge. Suddenly our hero pulled the cord with all his might 
and shouted to the driver to turn back at once. The coachman 
turned his horses and within two minutes was driving into 
Olsufy Ivanovitch’s yard again. 

“ Don’t, don’t, you fool, back ! ” shouted Mr. Golyadkin — 
and, as though he were expecting this order, the driver made no 
reply but, without stopping at the entrance, drove all round 
the courtyard and out into the street again. 

Mr. Golyadkin did not drive home, but, after passing the 
Semyonovsky Bridge, told the driver to return to a side street 
and stop near a restaurant of rather modest appearance. 
Getting out of the carriage, our hero settled up with the 
driver and so got rid of his equipage at last. He told Petrushka 
to go home and await his return, while he went into the 
restaurant, took a private room and ordered dinner. He 
felt very ill and his brain was in the utmost confusion and 
chaos. For a long time he walked up and down the room in 
agitation ; at last he sat down in a chair, propped his brow in 
his hands and began doing his very utmost to consider and 
settle something relating to his present position. 


CHAPTER IV 

That day the birthday of Klara Olsufyevna, the only daughter 
of the civil councillor, Berendyev, at one time Mr. Golyadkin’ s 
benefactor and patron, was being celebrated by a brilliant and 

160 



sumptuous dinner-party, such as had not been seen for many 
a long day within the walls of the flats in the neighbourhood of 
Ismailovsky Bridge — a dinner more like some Balthazar’s feast, 
with a suggestion of something Babylonian in its brilliant 
luxury and style, with Veuve-Clicquot champagne, with oysters 
and fruit from Eliseyev’s and Milyutin’s, with all sorts of fatted 
calves, and all grades of the government service. This festive 
day was to conclude with a brilliant ball, a small birthday ball, 
but yet brilliant in its taste, its distinction and its style. Of 
course, I am willing to admit that similar balls do happen some- 
times, though rarely. Such balls, more like family rejoicings 
than balls, can only be given in such houses as that of the 
civil councillor, Berendyev. I will say more : I even doubt 
if such balls could be given in the houses of all civil councillors? 
Oh, if I were a poet ! such as Homer or Pushkin, I mean, 
of course ; with any leeser talent one would not venture — I should 
certainly have painted all that glorious day for you, oh, my 
readers, with a free brush and brilliant colours ! Yes, I should 
begin my poem with my dinner, I should lay special stress on 
that striking and solemn moment when the first goblet was raised 
to the honour of the queen of the ffite. I should describe to you 
the guests plunged in a reverent silence and expectation, as 
eloquent as the rhetoric of Demosthenes ; I should describe for 
you, then, how Audrey Filippovitch, having as the eldest of the 
guests some right to take precedence, adorned with his grey 
hairs and the orders that well befit grey hairs, got up from his 
seat and raised above his head the congratulatory glass of 
sparkling wine — brought from a distant kingdom to celebrate 
such occasions and more like heavenly nectar than plain wine. 
I would portray for you the guests and the happy parents raising 
their glasses, too, after Andrey Filippovitch, and fastening upon 
him eyes full of expectation. I would describe for you how the 
same Andrey Filippovitch, so often mentioned, after dropping a 
tear in the glass, delivered his congratulations and good wishes, 
proposed the toast and drank the health . . . but I confess, 
I freely confess, that I could not do justice to the solemn moment 
when the queen of the fGte, Klara Olsufyevna, blushing like a 
rose in spring, with the glow of bliss and of modesty, was so 
overcome by her feelings that she sank into the arms of her 
tender mamma ; how that tender mamma shed tears, and how 
the father, Olsufy Ivanovitch, a hale old man and a privy 
councillor, who had lost the use of his legs in his long years of 
u 161 



service and been rewarded by destiny for his devotion with 
investments, a house, some small estates and a beautiful daughter/ 
sobbed like a little child and announced through his tears that 
his Excellency was a benevolent man. I could not, I positively 
could not, describe the enthusiasm that followed that moment 
in every heart, an enthusiasm clearly evuiced in the conduct of 
a youthful register clerk (though at that moment he was more 
like a civil councillor than a register clerk), who was moved to 
tears, too, as he listened to Andrey Filippo vitch. In his tu~u, 
too, Andrey Filippovitch was in that solemn moment quite 
unlike a collegiate councillor and the head of an office in the 
department — yes, he was something else . . what, exactly, 

I do not know, but not a collegiate councillor. He was more 
exalted ! Finally ... Oh, why do I not possess the secret 
of lofty, powerful language, of the sublime style, to describe 
these grand and edifying moments of human life, which seem 
created expressly to prove that virtue sometimes tnumphB over 
ingratitude, free-thinking, vice and envy ! I will say nothing, 
but m silence — which will be better than any eloquence — I will 
point to that fortunate youth, just entering on his twenty-sixth 
spring — to Vladimir Semyonovitch, Andrey Filippovitch’s 
nephew, who in his turn now rose from his seat, who in his turn 
proposed a toast, and upon whom were fastened the tearful 
eyes of the parents, the proud eyes of Andrey Filippovitch, 
the modest eyes of the queen of the f6te, the solemn eyes of 
the guests, and even the decorously envious eyes of some of the 
young man’s youthful colleagues. I will say nothing of that, 
though I cannot refrain from observing that everything in 
that young man — who was, indeed, speaking in a complimentary 
sense, more like an elderly than a young man — everything, 
from his blooming cheeks to his assessorial rank seemed almost 
to proclaim aloud the lofty pinnacle a man can attain through 
morality and good principles 1 I will not describe how Anton 
Antono vitch Syetotchkm, a little old man as grey as a badger, 
the head clerk of a department, who was a colleague of Andrey 
Filippovitch’s and had once been also of Olsufy Ivanovitch’s, 
and was an old friend of the family and Klara Olsufyevna’s 
godfather, in his turn proposed a toast, crowed like a cock, and 
cracked many little jokes ; how by this extremely proper breach 
of propriety, if one may use such an expression, he made the 
whole company laugh till they cried, and how Klara Olsufyevna, 
at her parents’ bidding, rewarded him for his jocularity and 

162 



politeness with a kiss. I will only say that the guests, who 
must have felt like kinsfolk and brothers after such a dinner, 
at last rose from the table, and the elderly and more solid guests, 
after a brief interval spent in friendly conversation, interspersed 
with some candid, though, of course, very polite and proper 
observations, went decorously into the next room and, without 
losing valuable time, promptly divided themselves up into 
parties and, full of the sense of their own dignity, installed 
themselves at tables covered with green baize. Meanwhile, the 
ladies established in the drawing-room suddenly became very 
affable and began talking about dress-materials. And the 
venerable host, who had lost the use of his legs in the service 
of loyalty and religion, and had been rewarded with all the 
blessings we have enumerated above, began walking about on 
crutches among his guests, supported by Vladimir Semyonovitch 
and Klara Olsufyevna, and he, too, suddenly becoming extremely 
affable, decided to improvise a modest little dance, regardless 
of expense ; to that end a nimble youth (the one who was more 
like a civil councillor than a youth) was despatched to fetch 
musicians, and musicians to the number of eleven arrived, and 
exactly at half-past eight struck up the inviting strains of a 
French quadrille, followed by various other dances. ... It is 
needless to say that my pen is too weak, dull, and spiritless to 
describe the dance that owed its inspiration to the genial hos- 
pitality of the grey-headed host. And how, I ask, can the 
modest chronicler of Mr. Gclyadkin s adventures, extremely 
interesting as they are in their own way, how can I depict the 
choice and rare mingling of beauty, brilliance, style, gaiety, 
polite solidity and solid politeness, sportiveness, joy, all the 
mirth and playfulness of these wives and daughters of petty 
officials, more like fairies than ladies — in a complimentary sense — 
with their lily shoulders and their rosy faces, their ethereal figures, 
their plajdully agile homeopathic — to use the exalted language 
appropriate — little feet ? How can I describe to you, finally, 
the gallant officials, their partners — gay and solid youths, steady, 
gleeful, decorously vague, smoking a pipe in the intervals between 
the dancing in a little green room apart, or not smoking a pipe 
in the intervals between the dances, every one of them with a 
highly respectable surname and rank in the service — all steeped 
in a sense of the elegant and a sense of their own dignity ; almost 
all speaking French to their partners, or if Russian, using only 
the most well-bred expressions, compliments and profound 

163 



observations, and only in the smoking-room permitting them- 
selves some genial lapses from this high tone, some phrases of 
cordial and friendly brevity, such, for instance, as : “ Ton my 
soul, Petka, you rake, you did kick off that polka in style,” 
or, “ I say, Vasya, you dog, you did give your partner a time of 
it.” For all this, as I’ve already had the honour of explaining, 
oh, my readers ! my pen fails me, and therefore I am dumb. 
Let us rather return to Mr. Golyadkin, the true and only hero 
of my very truthful tale. 

The fact is that he found himself now in a very strange position, 
to say the least of it. He was here also, gentlemen — that is, not 
at the dance, but almost at the dance ; he was “ all right, though ; 
he could take care of himself,” yet at this moment he was a 
little astray ; he was standing at that moment, strange to say — 
on the landing of the back stairs to Olsufy Ivanovitch's flat. 
But it was “ all right ” his standing there ; he was “ quite well.” 
He was standing in a corner, huddled in a place which was not 
very warm, though it was dark, partly hidden by a huge cup- 
board and an old screen, in the midst of rubbish, litter, and odds 
and ends of all sorts, concealing himself for the time being and 
watching the course of proceedings as a disinterested spectator. 
He was only looking on now, gentlemen ; he, too, gentlemen, 
might go in, of course . . . why should he not go in ? He had 
only to take one step and he would go in, and would go in very 
adroitly. Just now, though ho had been standing nearly three 
hours between the cupboard and the screen in the midst of the 
rubbish, litter, and odds and ends of all sorts, he was only 
quoting, in his own justification, a memorable phrase of the 
French minister, Villesle : “ All things come in time to him 
who has the strength to wait.” Mr. Golyadkin had read this 
sentence in some book on quite a different subject, but now 
very aptly recalled it. The phrase, to begin with, was exceedingly 
appropriate to his present position, and, indeed, why should it 
not occur to the mind of a man who had been waiting for almost 
three hours in the cold and the dark in expectation of a happy 
ending to his adventures. After quoting very appropriately 
the phrase of the French minister, Villesle, Mr. Golyadkin 
immediately thought of the Turkish Vizier, Martsimins, as well 
as of the beautiful Margravine Luise, whose story he had read 
also in some book. Then it occurred to his mind that the 
Jesuits made it their rule that a,ny means were justified if only 
the end were attained. Fortifying himself somewhat with this 

164 



historical fact, Mr. Golyadkin said to himself. What were the 
Jesuits ? The Jesuits were every one of them very great fools ; 
that he was better than any of them ; that if only the refresh- 
ment-room would be empty for one minute (the door of the 
refreshment-room opened straight into the passage to the back 
stairs, where Mr. Golyadkin was in hiding now), he would, in 
spite of all the Jesuits in the world, go straight in, first from the 
refreshment-room into the tea-room, then into the room where 
they were now playing cards, and then straight into the hall 
where they were now dancing the polka, and he would go in, 
he would certainly go in, in spite of anything he- would go in — 
he would slip through — and that would be all, no one would 
notice him ; and once there he would know what to do. 

Well, so this is the position in which we find the hero of our 
perfectly true story, though, indeed, it is difficult to explain 
what was passing in him at that moment. The fact is that he 
had made his way to the back stairs and to the passage, on the 
ground that, as he said, “ why shouldn’t he ? and everyone 
did go that way ” ; but he had not ventured to penetrate further, 
evidently he did not dare to do so ... “ not because there was 
anything he did not dare, but just because he did not care to, 
because he preferred to be in hiding ” ; so here he was, waiting 
now for a chance to slip in, and he had been waiting for it 
two hours and a half. “ Why not wait ? Villesle himself 
had waited. But what had Villesle to do with it ? ’ thought 
Mr. Golyadkin : “ How does Villesle come in ? But how am 
I to ... to go and walk in? . . . Ech, you dummy ! ” said 
Mr. Golyadkin, pinching his benumbed cheek with his benumbed 
fingers; “ you silly fool, you silly old Golyadkin — silly fool of 
a surname ! ** . . . 

But these compliments paid to himself were only by the way 
and without any apparent aim. Now he was on the point of 
pushing forward and slipping in; the refreshment-room was 
empty and no one was in sight. Mr. Golyadkin saw all this 
through the little window ; in two steps he was at the door and 
had already opened it. “ Should ho go in or not ? Come, 
should he or not? 1*11 go in . . . why not? to the bold all 
ways lie open ! ” Reassuring himself in this way, our hero 
suddenly and quite unexpectedly retreated behind the screen. 
“No,** he thought. “Ah, now, somebody’s coming in? Yes, 
they’ve come in ; why did I dawdle when there were no people 
*bout ) Even so, shall I go and slip in ? . . . No, how slip in 



when a man has such a temperament ! Fie, what a low tendency ! 
I’m as scared as a hen l Being scared is our special line, that’s 
the fact of the matter ! To be abject on every occasion is our 
line : no need to ask us about that Just stand here like a 
post and that’s all ! At home I should be having a cup of tea 
now. ... It would be pleasant, too, to have a cup of tea If 
I come in later Petrushka ’ll grumble, maybe. Shall I go home ? 
Damnation take all this ! I’ll go and that ’ll be the end of it ) ” 
Reflecting on his position in this way, Mr. Golyadkin dashed 
forward as though some one had touched a spring in him- in 
two steps he found himself in the refreshment-room, flung off 
his overcoat took off his hat, hurriedly thrust these things into 
a comer, s+raightened himself and smoothed himself down; 
then . . . then he moved on to the tea-room, and from the 
tea-room darted into the next room, slipped almost unnoticed 
between the card players, who were at the tip- top of excitement, 
then . . . Mr. Golyadkin forgot everything that was going on 
about him, and went straight as an arrow into the drawing- 
room. 

As luck would have it they were not dancing. The ladies 
were promenading up and down the room in picturesque groups. 
The gentlemen were standing about in twos and, throes or flitting 
about the room engaging partners Mr. Golyadkin noticed 
nothing of this. He saw only Klara Olsufyevna, near her Audrey 
Filippovitch, then Vladimir Semyonovitch, two or three officers, 
and, finally, two or three other young men who were also very 
interesting and, as any one could see at once, were either very 
promising or had actually done something. ... He saw some 
one else too. Or, rather, he saw nobody and looked at no- 
body . . . but, moved by the same spring which had sent him 
dashing into the midst of a ball to which he had not been 
invited, he movtd forward, and then forwarder and forwarder. 
On the way he jostled against a councillor and trod on his foot, 
and incidentally stepped on a very venerable old lady’s dress and 
tore it a little pushed against a servant with a tray and then 
ran against somebody else, and, not noticing all this, or rather 
noticing it but at the same time looking at no one, pressing 
further and further forward, he suddenly found himself facing 
Klara Olsufyevna. There is no doubt whatever that he would, 
with the utmost delight, without winking an eyelid, have sunk 
through the earth at that moment ; but what has once been done 
cannot be recalled . . . can never be recalled. What was he 

166 



to do ? " If I fail I don’t lose heart, if I succeed I persevere ” 

Mr. Golyadkin was, of course, not 1 one to intrigue ” and not 
accomplished in the art of polishing the floor with his boots.” . . 
And so, indeed it proved. Bes : des. the Jesuits had some hand 
in it too . though Mr Golyadkm had no thoughts to spare 
for them now ! Ail the moving, noisy, talking, laughing groups 
were suddenly hushed as though at a signal and, little by little, 
crowded round Mr. Golyadkin. He, however, seemed to hear 
nothing, to see noihirg, h p could not look . . he could not 
possibly look at anything ; he kept his eyes on the floor and so 
stood giving himself his word of honour, in passing, to shoot 
himself one way or another that night. Making this vow, 
Mr. Golyadkin inwardly said to himself, “ Here goes ! ” and 
to his own great astonishment began unexpectedly to speak. 

He began with congratulations and polite wishes. The con- 
gratulations went off well, but over the good wishes our hero 
stammered. He fext that if he stammered all would be lost at 
once. And so it turned out — he stammered and flounder d . 
floundering, he blushed crimson; blushing, he was overcome 
with 'o .tusion. In his confusion he raised his eyes , raising 
his eyes he looked about him looking about him — he almost 
swooned. . . . Every one stood still, every one was silent, 
every one was waiting; a little way off there was whispering; 
a little nearer there was laughter. Mr. Golyadkin fastened a 
humble, imploring look on Andrey Filippo vitch Andrey f llippo- 
vitch responded with «*uch a look that f oar hero had not been 
utterly crushed already he certainly would have been crushed 
a second time — that is, if that were possible The silence lasted 
long 

“ This is rather concerned with my domestic c'rcumstances 
and my private life, Andrey Filippovitch, ’ our hero, half-dead, 
articulated in a scarcely audible voice, it is not an official 
incident, Andrey Filippovitch 

For shame, sir, for shame ! ’ AnHrey Filippovitch pronounced 
in a half whisper, with an indescribable air of indignation , he 
pronounced these words and, giving Klara Olsufyevna his arm, 
he turned away from Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ I’ve nothing to be ashamed of, Andrey Filippovitch,” 
answered Mr. Golyadkin, also in a whisper, turning his miserable 
eyes about him, trying helplessly to discover in the amazed 
crowd something on which he could gain a footing and retrieve 
his social position. 


167 



11 Why, it’s all right, it’s nothing, gentlemen ! Why, what’fc 
the matter? Why, it might happen to any one,** whispered 
Mr. Golyadkin, moving a little away and trying to escape from 
the crowd surrounding him. 

They made way for him. Our hero passed through two rows 
of inquisitive and wondering spectators. Fate drew him on. 
He felt that himself, that fate was leading him on. He would 
have given a great deal, of course, for a chance to be back in 
the passage by the back stairs, without having committed a 
breach of propriety ; but as that was utterly impossible he began 
trying to creep away into a comer and to stand there — modestly, 
decorously, apart, without interfering with any one, without 
attracting especial attention, but at the same time to win the 
favourable notice of his host and the company. At the same time 
Mr. Golyadkin felt as though the ground were giving way under 
him, as though he were staggering, falling. At last he made his 
way to a comer and stood in it, like an unconcerned, rather 
indifferent spectator, leaning his arms on the backs of two 
chairs, taking complete possession of them in that way, and 
trying, as far as he could, to glance confidently at Olsufy Ivano- 
vitch’s guests, grouped about him. Standing nearest him was 
an officer, a tall and handsome fellow, beside whom Golyadkin 
felt himself an insect. 

“ These two chairs, lieutenant, are intended, one for Klara 
Olsufyevna, and the other for Princess Tchevtchehanov ; I'm 
taking care of them for them,” said Mr. Golyadkin breathlessly, 
turning his imploring eyes on the officer. The lieutenant said 
nothing, but turned away with a murderous smile. Checked 
in this direction, our hero was about to try his luck in another 
quarter, and directly addressed an important councillor with a 
cross of great distinction on his breast. But the councillor looked 
him up and down with such a frigid stare that Mr. Golyadkin 
felt distinctly as though a whole bucketful of cold water had 
been thrown over him. He subsided into silence. He made 
up his mind that it was better to keep quiet, not to open his 
lips, and to show that he was “ all right,” that he was “ like every 
one else,” and that his position, as far as he could see, was quite 
a proper one. With this object he riveted his gaze on the 
lining of his coat, then raised his eyes and fixed them upon a very 
respectable-looking gentleman. “ That gentleman has a wig 
on,” thought Mr. Golyadkin ; “ and if he takes off that wig h$ 
will be bald, his head will be as bare as the palm of my hand.” 

168 



Having made this important discovery, Mr. Golyadkin thought 
of the Arab Emirs, whose heads are left bare and shaven if they 
take off the green turbans they wear as a sign of their descent 
from the prophet Mahomet. Then, probably from some special 
connection of ideas with the Turks, he thought of Turkish 
slippers and at once, apropos of that, recalled the fact that Andrey 
Filippo vitch was wearing boots, and that his boots were more 
like slippers than boots. It was evident that Mr. Golyadkin 
had become to some extent reconciled to his position. “ What 
if that chandelier,” flashed through Mr. Golyadkin’s mind, 
“ were to come down from the ceiling and fall upon the company. 
I should rush at once to save Klara Olsufyevna. ‘ Save her ! * 
I should cry. * Don’t be alarmed, madam, it’s of no consequence, 
I will rescue you, I.* Then . . At that moment Mr. 
Golyadkin looked about in search of Klara Olsufyevna, and saw 
Gerasimitch, Olsufy Ivanovitch’s old butler. Gerasimitch, with 
a most anxious and solemnly official air, was making straight 
for him. Mr. Golyadkin started and frowned from an un- 
accountable but most disagreeable sensation; he looked about 
him mechanically; it occurred to his mind if only he could 
somehow creep off somewhere, unobserved, on the sly — simply 
disappear, that is, behave as though he had done nothing at ail, 
as though the matter did not concern him in the least f . . . 
But before our hero could make up his mind to do anything, 
Gerasimitch was standing before him. 

“ Do you see, Gerasimitch,” said our hero, with a little 
smile, addressing Gerasimitch; 11 you go and tell them — do 
you see the candle there in the chandelier, Gerasimitch — it 
will be falling down directly : so, you know, you must tell them 
to see to it ; it really will fall down, Gerasimitch. . . .” 

“The candle 1 No, the candle’s standing straight; but 
somebody is asking for you, sir.” 

“ Who is asking for me, Gerasimitch ? ” 

“ I really can’t say, sir, who it is. A man with a message. ‘ Is 
Yakov Petrovitch Golyadkin here ? * says he. * Then call him out,’ 
says he, ‘ on very urgent and important business . . .’ you see.” 

“No, Gerasimitch, you are making a mistake; in that you 
are making a mistake, Gerasimitch.” 

“ I doubt it, sir.” 

“ No, Gerasimitch, it isn’t doubtful ; there’s nothing doubtful 
about it, Gerasimitch. Nobody’s asking for me, but I’m quite 
at home here — that is, in my right place, Gerasimitch.” 

169 



Mr. Golyadkin took breath and looked about him Yes-! 
every one in the room, all had their eyes fixed upon him, and were 
listening in a sort of solemn expectation. The men had crowded 
a little nearer and were all attention. A little further away the 
ladies were whispering together. The master of the house made 
his appearance at no great distance from Mr. Golyadkin, and 
though it was impossible to detect from his expression that he, 
too, was taking a close and direct interest in Mr. Golyadkin’s 
position, for everything was being done with delicaey, yet, 
nevertheless, it all made our hero feel that the decisive moment 
had come for him. Mr. Golyadkin saw clearly that the time had 
come for a bold stroke, the chance of putting his enemies to 
shame. Mr. Golyadkin was in great agitation. He was aware 
of a sort of inspiration and, in a quivering and impressive voice, 
he began again, addressing the waiting butler — 

" No, my dear fellow, no one s calling for me. You are 
mistaken I will say more . you were mistaken this morning, 
too, when you assured me. . . . dared to assure me, I say 
(he raised his voice), “ that Olsufy Ivanovitch, who has been 
my benefactor as long as I can remember and has, in a sense, 
been a father to me was shutting his door upon me at the 
moment of solemn family rejoicing for his paternal heart.” 
(Mr. Golyadkin looked about him complacently, but with deep 
feeling. A tear glittered on his eyelash ) “I repeat, my fnend,” 
our hero concluded, “ you were mistaken, you were cruelly and 
unpardonably mistaken . .” 

The moment was a solemn one. Mr. Golyadkin felt that the 
effect was quite certain. He stood with modestly downcast 
eyes, expecting Olsufy Ivanovitch to embrace him. Excitement 
and perplexity were apparent in the guests, even the inflexible 
and terrible Gerasimitch faltered over the words “ I doubt 
it . . .” when suddenly the ruthless orchestra, apropos of 
nothing, struck up a polka. All was lost, all was scattered to 
the winds Mr. Golyadkin started ; Gerasimitch stepped back ; 
everything in the room began undulating like the sea; and 
Vladimir Semyonovitch led the dance with Klara Olsufyevna, 
while the handsome lieutenant followed with Princess Tchev- 
tchehanov. Onlookers, curious and delighted, squeezed in to 
watch them dancing the polka — an interesting, fashionable new 
dance which every one was crazy over. Mr. Golyadkin was, for 
the time, forgotten. But suddenly all were thrown into exciter 
ment, confusion and bustle; the music ceased ... a strange 

170 



incident had occurred. Tired out with the dance, and almost 
breathless with fatigue, Klara Olsufyevna, with glowing checks 
and heaving bosom, sank into an armchair, completely ex- 
hausted. . . . All hearts turned to the fascinating creature, 
all vied with one another in complimenting her and thanking 
her for the pleasure conferred on them, — all at once there stood 
before her Mr. Golyadkin. He was pale, extremely perturbed; 
he, too, seemed completely exhausted, he could scarcely move. 
He was smiling for some reason, he stretched out his hand 
imploringly. Klara Olsufyevna was so taken aback that she 
had not time to withdraw hers and mechanically got up at his 
invitation. Mr. Golyadkin lurched forward, "first once, then a 
second time, then lifted his leg then made a scrape, then gave 
a sort of stamp, then stumbled ... he, too, wanted to dance 
with Klara Olsufyevna. Klara Olsufyevna uttered a shriek, 
every one rushed to release her hand from Mr. Golyadkin’s, and 
in a moment our hero was carried almost ten paces away by 
the rush of the crowd. A circle formed round him too. Two 
old ladies, whom he had almost knocked down in his retreat, 
raised a great shrieking and outcry. The confusion was awful; 
all were asking questions, every one was shouting, every one 
was finding fault. The orchestra was silent. Our hero whirled 
round in his circle and mechanically, with a semblance of a smile, 
muttered something to himself, such as, “Why not ? ” and 
“ that the polka, so far, at least, as he could see, was a new and 
very interesting dance, invented for the diversion of the ladies . . . 
but that since things had taken this turn, he was ready to 
consent.” But Mr. Golyadkin* s consent no one apparently 
thought of asking. Our hero was suddenly aware that some 
one’s hand was laid on his arm, that another hand was pressed 
against his back, that he was with peculiar solicitude being 
guided in a certain direction. At last he noticed that he was 
going straight to the door. Mr. Golyadkin wanted to say some- 
thing, to do something. . . But no, he no longer wanted to do 
anything. He only mechanically kept laughing in answer. At 
last he was aware that they were putting on his greatcoat, that 
his hat was thrust over his eyes ; finally he felt that he was in 
the entry on the stairs in the dark and cold. At last he stumbled, 
he felt <hat he was falling down a precipice ; he tried to cry out — 
and suddenly found himself in the courtyard. The air blew 
fresh on him, he stood still for a minute ; at that very instant, 
the strains reached him of the orchestra striking up again. 

171 



Mr. Golyadkin suddenly recalled it all ; it seemed to him that 
all his flagging energies came back to him again He had been 
standing as though riveted to the spot, but now he started off 
and rushed away headlong, anywhere, into the air, into freedom, 
wherever chance might take him. 


CHAPTER V 

It was striking midnight from all the clock towers in Petersburg 
when Mr. Golyadkin, beside himself, ran out on the Fontanka 
Quay, close to the Ismailovsky Bridge, fleeing from his foes, 
from persecution, from a hailstorm of nip3 and pinches aimed 
at him, from the shrieks of excited old ladies, from the Ohs and 
Ahs of women and from the murderous eyes of Andrey Filippo 
vitch. Mr. Golyadkin was killed — killed entirely, in the full 
sense of the w ord, and if he still preserved the power of running, 
it was simply through come sort of miracle, a miracle in which 
at last he refused himself to believe. It was an awful November 
night — wet, foggy 7 , rainy, snowy, teeming with colds in the head, 
fevers, swollen faces, quinseys, inflammations of all kinds and 
descriptions — teeming, in fact, with all the gifts of a Petersburg 
November. The wind howled in the deserted streets, lifting up 
the black water of the canal above the rings on the bank, and 
irritably brushing against the lean lamp -posts which chimed in 
with its howling in a thin, shrill creak, keeping up the endless 
squeaky, jangling concert with which every inhabitant of Peters- 
burg is so familiar. Snow and lain were falling both at once. 
Lashed by the wind, the streams of rainwater spurted almost 
horizontally, as though from a fireman’s hose, pricking and 
stinging the face of the luckless Mr. Golyadkin like a thousand 
pins and needles. In the stillness of the night, broken only by 
the distant rumbling of carriages, the howl of the wind and the 
creaking of the lamp-posts, there was the dismal sound of the 
splash and gurgle of water, rushing from every roof, every porch, 
every pipe and every comice, on to the granite of the pavement. 
There was not a soul, near or far, and, indeed, it seemed thero 
could not be at such an hour and in such weather. And so only 
Mr. Golyadkin, alone with his despair, was fleeing in terror 
along the pavement of Fontanka, with his usual rapid little step, 
in haste to get home as soon as possible to his flat on the fourth * 
storey in Shestilavotchny Street. 

172 



Though the enow, the rain, and all the nameless horrors of a 
raging snowstorm and fog, under a Petersburg November sky, 
were attacking Mr. Golyadkin, already shattered by misfortunes, 
were showing him no mercy, giving him no rest, drenching him 
to the bone, glueing up his eyelids, blowing right through him 
from all sides, baffling and perplexing him — though all this was 
hurled upon Mr. Golyadkin at once, as though conspiring and 
combining with all his enemies to make a grand day, evening, 
and night for him, in spite of all this Mr. Golyadkin was almost 
insensible to this final proof of the persecution of destiny : so 
violent had been the shock and the impression made upon him 
a few minutes before at the civil councillor Berendyev s ! If 
any disinterested spectator could have glanced casually at Mr. 
Golyadkin’s painful progress, he would instantly have grasped 
the awful horror of his pitiful plight and would certainly have 
said that Mr. Golyadkin looked as though he wanted to hide 
from himself, as though he were trying to run away from himself ! 
Yes ! It was really so. One may say more : Mr. Golyadkin did 
net want only to run away from himself, but to be obliterated, 
to cease to be, to return to dust. At the moment he took in 
nothing surrounding him, understood nothing of what was going 
on about him, and looked as though the miseries of the stormy 
night, of the long tramp, the rain, the snow, the wind, all the 
cruelty of the weather, did not exist for him. The golosh 
slipping off the boot on Mr. Golyadkin’s right foot was left 
behind in the snow and Blush on the pavement of Fontanka, and 
Mr. Golyadkin did not think of turning back to get it, did not, 
in fact, notice that he had lost it. He was so perplexed that, in 
spite of everything surrounding him, he stood several times 
stockstill in the middle of the pavement, completely possessed 
by the thought of his recent horrible humiliation ; at that instant 
he was dying, disappearing ; then he suddenly set off again like 
mad and ran and ran without looking back, as though he were 
pursued, as though he were fleeing from some still more awful 
calamity. . . . The position was truly awful ! ... At last 
Mr. Golyadkin halted in exhaustion, leaned on the railing in 
the attitude of a man whose nose has suddenly begun to bleed, 
and began looking intently at the black and troubled waters 
of the canal. There is no knowing what length of time he spent 
like this. All that is known is that at that instant Mr. Golyadkin 
reached such a pitch of despair, was so harassed, so tortured, 
bo exhausted, and so weakened in what feeble faculties were 

173 



left him that he forgot everything, forgot the Ismailovsky Bridge,, 
forgot Shestilavotchny Street, forgot his present plight. . . . 
After all, what did it matter to him? The thing was done. 
The decision was affirmed and ratified; what could he do? 
All at once ... all at once he started and involuntarily skipped 
a couple of paces aside. With unaccountable uneasiness he 
began gazing about him ; but no one was there, nothing special 
had happened, and yet . . . and yet he fancied that just now, 
that very minute, some one was standing near him, beside him, 
also leaning on the railing, and — marvellous to relate » — had even 
said something to him, said something quickly, abruptly, not 
quite intelligibly, but something quite private, something 
concerning himself. 

“ Why, was it my fancy ? ” said Mr. Golyadkin, looking round 
once more. “But where am I standing? . . . Ech, ech,” he 
thought finally, shaking his. head, though he began gazing with 
an uneasy, miserable feeling into the damp, murky distance, 
straining his sight and doing his utmo3t to pierce with his short- 
sighted eyes the wet darkness that stretched all round him. There 
was nothing new, however, nothing special caught the eye of 
Mr. Golyadkin. Everything sefemed to be all right, as it should 
be, that is, the snow was falling more violently, more thickly 
and in larger fiakes f nothing could be seen twenty paces away, 
the lamp-posts creaked more shrilly than ever and the wind 
seemed to intone its melancholy song even more tearfully, more 
piteously, like an importunate beggar whining for a copper to 
get a crust of bread. At the same time a new sensation took 
possession of Mr. Golyadkin’s whole being : agony upon agony, 
terror upon terror ... a feverish tremor ran through his veins. 
The moment was insufferably unpleasant ! “ Well, it’s no 

matter,” he said, to encourage himself. “Well, no matter; 
perhaps it’s no matter at all, and there’s no stain on any one's 
honour. Perhaps it’s as it should be,” he went on, without 
understanding what he wad saying. “ Perhaps it will all be for 
the best in the end, and there will be nothing to complain of, 
and every one will be justified.” 

Talking like this and comforting himself with words, Mr. 
Golyadkin shook himself a little, shook off the snow which had 
drifted in thick layers on his hat, his collar, his overcoat, his tie, 
his boots and everything — but his strange feeling, his strange, 
obscure misery he could not get rid of, could not shake off. 
Somewhere in the distance there was the boom of a cannon shot. 

174 



“ Ach, what weather ! ” thought our hero. “ Tchoo ! isn’t 
there going to be a flood ? It seems as though the water has 
risen so violently.” 

Mr. Golyadkin had hardly said or thought this when he saw 
a person coming towards him, belated, no doubt, like him, through 
some accident. An unimportant, casual incident, one might 
suppose, but for some unknown reason Mr. Golyadkin was 
troubled, even scared, and rather flurried. It was not that 
he was exactly afraid of some ill-intentioned man, but just that 
“ perhaps . . . after all, who knows, this belated individual,” 
flashed through Mr. Golyadkin’s mind, “ maybe he’s that 
very thing, maybe he’s the very principal thing in it, and isn’t 
here for nothing, but is here with an object, crossing my path 
and provoking me.” Possibly, however, he did not think this 
precisely, but only had a passing feeling of something like it — 
and very unpleasant. There was no time, however, for thinking 
and feeling. The stranger was already within two paces. Mr. 
Golyadkin, as he invariably did, hastened to assume a quite 
peculiar air, an air that expressed clearly that he, Golyadkin, 
kept himself to himself, that he was “ all right,” that the road 
was wide enough for all, and that he, Golyadkin, was not inter- 
fering with any one. Suddenly he stopped short as though 
petrified, as though struck by lightning, and quickly turned 
round after the figure which had only just passed him — turned as 
though some one had given him a tug from behind, as though 
the wind had turned him like a weathercock. The passer-by 
vanished quickly in the snowstorm. He, too, walked quickly; 
he was dressed like Mr. Golyadkin and, like him, too, wrapped 
up from head to foot, and he, too, tripped and trotted along the 
pavement of Fontanka with rapid little steps that suggested 
that he was a little scared. 

“ What — what is it ? ” whispered Mr. Golyadkin, smiling 
mistrustfully, though he trembled all over. An icy shiver ran 
down his back. Meanwhile, the stranger had vanished com- 
pletely, there was no sound of his step, while Mr. Golyadkin 
still stood and gazed after him. At last, however, he gradually 
came to himself. 

“ Why, what’s the meaning of it ? ” he thought with vexation. 
“ Why, have I really gone out of my mind, or what ? ” He turned 
and went on his way, making his footsteps more rapid and fre- 
quent, and doing his best not to think of anything at all. He 
even closed his eyes at last with the same object. Suddenly, 

175 



through the howling of the wind and the uproar of the storm, 
the sound of steps very close at hand reached his ears again. 
He started and opened his eyes. Again a rapidly approaching 
figure stood out black before him, some twenty paces away. 
This little figure was hastening, tripping along, hurrying 
nervously ; the distance between them grew rapidly less. Mr 
Golyadkin could by now get a full view of this second belated 
companion. He looked full at him and cried out with amazement 
and horror; his legs gave way under him. It was the same 
individual who had passed him ten minutes before, and who 
now quite unexpectedly turned up facing him again. But this 
was not the only marvel that stiuck Mr. Golyadkin. He was 
so amazed that he stood still, cried out, tried to say something, 
and rushed to overtake the stranger, even shouted something 
to him, probably anxious to stop him as quickly as possible. 
The stranger did, in fact, stop ten paces from Mr. Golyadkin, 
so that the light from the lamp-post that stood near fell full 
upon his whole figure— stood still, turned to Mr. Golyadkin, 
and with impatient and anxious face waited to hear what he 
would say, 

“ Excuse me, possibly I’m mistaken,” our hero brought out 
In a quavering voice. 

The stranger in silence, and with an air of annoyance, turned 
and rapidly went on his way, as though in haste to make up for 
the two seconds he had wasted on Mr. Golyadkin. As for the 
latter, he was quivering in every nerve, his knees shook and gave 
way under him, and with a moan he squatted on a stone at the 
edge of the pavement. There really was reason, however, for 
his being so overwhelmed. The fact is that this stranger seemed 
to him now somehow familiar. That would have been nothing, 
though. But he recognized, almost certainly recognized this 
man. He had often seen him, that man, had seen him some time, 
and very lately too; where could it have been? Surely not 
yesterday ? But, again, that was not the chief thing that Mr. 
Golyadkin had often seen him before ; there wafc hardly anything 
special about the man ; the man at first sight would not have 
aroused any special attention. He was just a man like any 
one else, a gentleman like all other gentlemen, of course, and 
perhaps ho had some good qualities and very valuable ones too— 
in fact, he was a man who was quite himself. Mr. Golyadkin 
cherished no sort of hatred or enmity, not even the slightest 
hostility towards this man — quite the contrary, it would seem, 

176 



indeed — and yet (and this was the real point) he would not for 
any treasure on earth have been willing to meet that man, 
and especially to meet him as he had done now, for instance. 
We may say more : Mr Golyadkin knew that man perfectly 
well : he even knew what he was called, what his name was ; 
and yet nothing would have induced him, and again, for no 
treasure on earth would he have consented to name him, to 
consent to acknowledge that he was called so-and-so, that his 
father’s name was this and his surname was that. Whether 
Mr. Golyadkin’s stupefaction lasted a short time or a long time, 
whether he was sitting for a long time on the stone of the 
pavement I cannot say ; but, recovering himself a little at last, 
he suddenly fell to running, without looking round, as fast as his 
legs could carry him ; his mind was preoccupied, twice he 
stumbled and almost fell — and through this circumstance his 
other boot was also bereaved of its golosh. At last Mr. Golyadkin 
slackened his pace a little to get breath, looked hurriedly round 
and saw that he had already, without being aware of it, run 
right across Fontanka, had crossed the Anitchkov Bridge, had 
passed part of the Nevsky Prospect and was now standing at 
the turning into Liteyny Street. Mr. Golyadkin turned into 
Liteyny Street. His position at that instant was like that of a 
man standing at the edge of a fearful precipice, while the earth 
is bursting open under him, is already shaking, moving, rocking 
for the last time, falling, drawing him into the abyss, and yet 
the luckless wretch has not the strength, nor the resolution, 
to leap back, to avert his eyes from the yawning gulf below ; 
the abyss draws him and at last he leaps into it of himself, himself 
hastening the moment of his destruction. Mr. Golyadkin knew, 
felt and was firmly convinced that some other evil would certainly 
befall him on the way, that some unpleasantness would overtake 
him, that he would for instance, meet his stranger once more : 
but — strange to say, he positively desired this meeting, con- 
sidered it inevitable, and all he asked was that it might all be 
quickly over, that he should be relieved from his position in one 
way or another, but as soon as possible. And meanwhile he 
ran on and on, as though moved by some external force, for he 
felt a weakness and numbness in his whole being : he could not 
think of anything, though his thoughts caught at everything like 
brambles. A little lost dog, soaked and shivering, attached 
itself to Mr. Golyadkin, and ran beside him, scurrying along with 
tail and ears drooping, looking at him from time to time with 
H 177 



timid comprehension Some remote, long-forgotten idea — some 
memory of something that had happened long ago — came back 
mto his mind now, kept knocking at his brain as with a hammer, 
vexing him and refusing to be shaken off. 

“ Ech, that horrid little cur ! ” whispered Mr. Golyadkin, 
not understanding himself. 

At last he saw his stranger at the turning into Italyansky 
Street. But this time the stranger was not coming to meet 
him, but was going in the same direction as he was, and he, too, 
was running, a few steps in front. At last they turned into 
Shestilavotchny Street. 

Mr. Golyadkin caught his breath. The stranger stopped 
exactly before the house in which Mr. Golyadkin lodged. He 
heard a ring at the bell and almost at the same time the grating 
of the iron bolt. The gate opened, the stranger stooped, darted 
in and disappeared. Almost at the same instant Mr. Golyadkin 
reached the spot and like an arrow flew in at the gate. Heedless 
of the grumbling porter, he ran, gasping for breath, into the 
yard, and immediately saw his interesting companion, whdm he 
had lost sight of for a moment. 

The stranger darted towards the staircase which led to Mr. 
Golyadkin’s flat. Mr. Golyadkin rushed after him The stairs 
were dark, damp and dirty. At every turning there were heaped- 
up masses of refuse from the flats, so that any unaccustomed 
stranger who found himself on the stairs in the dark was forced 
to travel to and fro for half an hour in danger of breaking his 
legs, cursing the stairs as well as the friends who lived in 
such an- inconvenient place. But Mr Golyadkin’s companion 
seemed as though familiar yith it, as though at home ; he ran 
up lightly, without difficulty, showing a perfect knowledge of 
his surroundings. Mr. Golyadkin had almost caught him up; 
in fact, once or twice the stranger’s coat flicked him on the nose. 
His heart stood still The stranger stopped before the door of 
Mr. Golyadkin’s flat, knocked on it, and (which would, however, 
have surprised Mr. Golyadkin at any other time) Petrushka, as 
though he had been sitting up in expectation, opened the door 
at once and, with a candle in his hand, followed the stranger as 
the latter went m. The hero of our story dashed into his lodging 
beside himself , without taking off his hat or coat he crossed the 
little passage and stood still in the doorway of his room, as though 
thunderstruck. All his presentiments had come true. All 
that he had dreaded and surmised was coming to pass in reality. 

178 



jjis breath failed him, his head was in a whirl. The stranger, 
also in his coat and hat, was sitting before him on his bed, and 
with a faint smile, screwing up his eyes, nodded to him in a 
friendly way. Mr. Golyadkin wanted to scream, but could not — 
to protest in some way, but his strength failed him. His hair 
stood on end, and he almost fell down with horror. And, indeed, 
there was good reason. He recognized his nocturnal visitor. 
The nocturnal visitor was no other than himself — Mr. Golyadkin 
himself, another Mr. Golyadkin, but absolutely the same as 
himself — in fact, what is called a double in every respect. . . . 


CHAPTER VI 

At eight o’clock next morning Mr. Golyadkin woke up in his 
bed. At once all the extraordinary incidents of the previous 
day and the wild, incredible night, with all its almost impos- 
sible adventures, presented themselves to his imagination and 
memory with terrifying vividness Such intense, diabolical 
malice on the part of his enemies, and, above all, the final proof 
of that malice, froze Mr. Golyadkin’s heart. But at the same 
time it was all so strange, incomprehensible, wild, it seemed so 
impossible, that it was really hard to credit the whole business ; 
Mr. Golyadkin was, indeed, ready to admit himself that it was 
all an incredible delusion, a passing aberration of the fancy, a 
darkening of the mind, if he had not fortunately known by 
bitter experience to what lengths spite will sometimes carry 
any one, what a pitch of ferocity an enemy may reach when 
he is bent on revenging his honour and prestige. Besides, Mr. 
Golyadkin’s exhausted limbs, his heavy head, his aching back, 
and the malignant cold in his head bore vivid witness to the 
probability o£ his expedition of the previous night and upheld 
the reality of it, and to some extent of all that had 
happened during that expedition. And, indeed, Mr. Golyadkin 
had known long, long before that something was being got up 
among them, that there was some one else with them. But 
after all, thinking it over thoroughly, he made up his mind to 
keep quiet, to submit and not to protest for the time. 

41 They are simply plotting to frighten me, perhaps, and when 
they see that I don’t mind, that I make no protest, but keep 
perfectly quiet and put up with it meekly, they’ll give it up, 
they’ll give it up of themselves, give it up of their own accord.” 

179 



Such, then, were the thoughts in the mind of Mr. Oolyadkin 
as, stretching in his bed, trying to pest his exhausted limbs, he 
waited for Petrushka to come into his room as usual. ... He 
waited for a full quarter of an hour. He heard the lazy scamp 
fiddling about with the samovar behind the screen, and yet 
he could not bring himself to call him. We may say more : 
Mr. Golyadkin was a little atraxd of confronting Petrushka. 

44 Why, goodness knows/’ he thought, 44 goodness knows how 
that rascal looks at it all. He keeps on saying nothing, but he 
has his own ideas.” 

At last the door creaked and Petrushka came in with a tray 
in his hands Mr. Golyadkin stole a timid glance at him, 
impatiently waiting to see what would happen, waiting to see 
whether he would not say something about a certain circum- 
stance. But Petrushka said nothing ; he was, on the contrary, 
more silent, more glum and ill-humoured than usual ; he looked 
askance from under his brows at everything ; altogether it was 
evident that he was very much put out about something; he 
did not even once glance at his master, which, by the way, 
rather piqued the latter. Setting all he had brought on the 
table, he turned and went out of the room without a word. 

44 He knows, he knows, he knows all about it, the scoundrel ! ” 
Mr. Golyadkin grumbled to himself as he took his tea. Yet 
our hero did not address a single question to his servant, though 
Petrushka came into his room several times afterwards on 
various errands. Mr. Golyadkin was in great trepidation of 
spirit. He dreaded going to the office. He had a strong pre- 
sentiment that there he would find something that would not 
be 44 just so.” 

44 You may be sure,” he thought, 44 that as soon as you go 
you will light upon something ! Isn’t it better to endure in 
patience ? Isn’t it better to wait a bit now ? Let them do 
what they like there; but I’d better stay here a bit to-day, 
recover my strength, get better, and think over the whole 
affair more thoroughly, then afterwards I could seize the right 
moment, fall upon them like snow from the sky, and get off 
scot free myself,” 

Reasoning like this, Mr. Golyadkin smoked pipe after pipe; 
time was flying. It was already nearly half -past nine. 

14 Why, it’s half-past nine already,” thought Mr. Golyadkin; 
“ it’s late for me to make my appearance. Besides, I’m ill, of 
course I’m ill, I’m certainly ill ; who denies it ? What’s the 

180 



matter with met If they send to make inquiries, let the 
executive clerk come ; and, indeed, what is the matter with me 
really? My back aches, I have a cough, and a cold in my 
head ; and, in fact, it’s out of the question for me to go out, 
utterly out of the question in such weather. I might be taken 
ill and, very likely, die; nowadays especially the death-rate 
is so high. . . 

With such reasoning Mr. Golyadkin succeeded at last in 
setting his conscience at rest, and defended himself against the 
reprimands he expected from Andrey Filippovitch for neglect 
of his duty. As a rule in such cases our hero was particularly 
fond of justifying himself in his own eves with all sorts of 
irrefutable arguments, and so completely setting his conscience 
at rest. And so now, having completely soothed his conscience, 
he took up his pipe, filled it, and had no sooner settled down 
comfortably to smoke, when he jumped up quickly from the 
sofa, flung away the pipe, briskly washed, shaved, and brushed 
his hair, got into his uniform and so on, snatched up some papers, 
and flew off to the office. 

Mr. Golyadkin went into his department timidly, in quiver- 
ing expectation of something unpleasant — an expectation which 
was none the loss disagreeable for being vague and unconscious; 
he sat timidly down m his invariable place next the head clerk, 
Anton Antonovitch Syetotchkin. Without looking at anything 
or allowing his attention to be distracted, he plunged into the 
contents of the papers that lay before him. He made up his 
mind and vowed to himself to avoid, as far as possible, anything 
provocative, anything that might compromise him, such as 
indiscreet questions, jests, or unseemly allusions to any incidents 
of the previous evening ; he made up his mind also to abstain 
from the usual interchange of civilities with his colleagues, 
such as inquiries after health and such like. But evidently it 
was impossible, out of the question, to keep to this. Anxiety 
and uneasiness in regard to anything near him that was annoy- 
ing always worried him far more than the annoyance itself. 
And that was why, in spite of his inward vows to refrain from 
entering into anything, whatever happened, and to keep aloof 
from everything, Mr. Golyadkin from time to time, on the sly, 
very, very quietly, raised his head and stealthily looked about 
him to right and to left, peeped at the countenances of his col- 
leagues, and tried to gather whether there were not something 
new and particular in them referring to himself and with 

181 



sinister motives concealed from him. He assumed that there 
must be a connection between all that had happened yesterday 
and all that surrounded him now. At last, in his misery, he 
began to long for something —goodness knows what — to happen 
to put an end to it— even some calamity — he did not care. At 
this point destiny caught Mr. Golyadkin : he had hardly felt 
this desire when his doubts were solved in the strangest and 
most unexpected manner. 

The door leading from the next room suddenly gave a soft 
and timid creak, as though to indicate that the person about to 
enter was a very unimportant one, and a figure, very familiar 
to Mr. Golyadkin, stood shyly before the very table at which 
our hero was seated. The latter did not raise his head — no, he 
only stole a glance at him, the tiniest glance, but he knew all, 
he understood all, to every detail. He grew hot with shame, 
and buried his devoted head in his papers with precisely the 
same object with which the ostrich, pursued by hunters, hides 
his head in the burning sand. The new arrival bowed to Andrey 
Filippo vitch, and thereupon he heard a voice speaking in the 
regulation tone of condescending politeness with which all 
persons in authority address their subordinates in public offices 

“ Take -a seat here.” said Andrey Filippovitch, motioning 
the newcomer to Anton Antonovitch’s table. “ Here, opposite 
Mr. Golyadkin, and we 11 soon give you something to do.” 

Andrey Filippovitch ended by making a rapid gesture that 
decorously admonished the newcomer of his duty, and then he 
immediately became engrossed in the study o the papers that 
lay in a r heap before him. 

Mr. Golyadkin lifted his eyes at last, and that he did not 
fall into a swoon was s mply because he had foreseen it all from 
the first, that he had been forewarned from the first, guessing 
in his soul who the stranger was. Mr. Golyadkin’s first move- 
ment was to look quickly about him, to see whether there were 
any whispering, any office joke being cracked on the subject, 
whether any one’s face was agape with wonder, whether, indeed, 
some one had not fallen under the table from terror. But to 
his intense astonishment there was no sign of anything of the 
sort. The behaviour of his colleagues and companions surprised 
him. It seemed contrary to the dictates of common sense. 
Mr. Golyadkin was positively scared at this extraordinary 
reticence. The fact spoke for itself ; it was a strange, horrible, 
uncanny thing. It was enough to rouse any one. All this, of 

182 



course, only passed rapidly through Mr. Golvadkin’s mind. He 
felt as though he were burning in a slow fire. And, indeed, 
there was enough to make him The figure that was sitting 
opposite Mr. Golyadkin now was his terror, was his shame, was 
his nightmare of the evening before , in short, was Mr. Golyadkin 
himself, not the Mr. Golyadkin who was sitting now in his chair 
with his mouth wide open and his pen petrified in his hand, not 
the one who acted as assistant to his chief, not the one who 
liked to efface himself and slink away in the crowd, not the one 
whose deportment plainly said, “ Don’t touch me and I won’t 
touch you,” or, “ Don’t interfere with me, you see I’m not 
touching you”; no, this was another Mr Golyadkin, quite 
different, yet, at the same time, exactly like the first — the same 
height, the same figure, the same clothes, the same baldness; 
in fact, nothing, absolutely nothing, was lacking to complete 
the likeness, so that if one were to set them side by side, 
nobody, absolutely nobody, could have undertaken to distin- 
guish which was the real Golyadkin and which was the counter- 
feit, which was the old one and which was the new one, which 
was the original and which was the copy. 

Our hero was— if the comparison can be made — in the position 
of a man upon whom some practical joker has stealthily, by way 
of jest, turned a burning-glass. 

” What does it mean? Is it a dream ? ” he wondered ‘ Is 
it reality or the continuation of what happened yesterday ? 
And besides, by what right is this all being done ? Who sanc- 
tioned such a clerk, who authorized this ? Am I asleep, am I 
in a waking dream ? ” 

Mr. Golyadkin tried pinching himself, even tried to screw up 
his courage to pinch some one else. . . No, it was not a dream, 
and that was all about it. Mr: Golyadkin felt that the sweat 
was trickling down him in big drops , he felt that what was 
happening to him was something incredible unheard of, and 
for that very reason was, to complete his misery, utterly un- 
seemly, for Mr. Golyadkin realized and felt how disadvantageous 
it was to be the first example of such a burlesque adventure 
He even began to doubt his own existence and th( ugh he was 
prepared for anything and had been longing for his doubts to 
be settled in any way whatever, yet the actual reality was start- 
ling in its unexpectedness. His misery was poignant and over- 
whelming. At times he lost all power of thought and memory 
Coming to himself after such a moment, he noticed that he was 

183 



sMSteWsssoms 

—and could make nothmg of it. At last the other Mr. GolJSkto 
who had been sitting discreetly and decorously at the table got 
up and disappeared through the door into the other room. ’jfr. 
Golyadkin looked round— everything was quiet; he heard 
nothing but the scratching of pens, the rustle of turning over 
pages, and conversation in the comers furthest from Audrey 
Filippo vitch’s seat. Mr. Golyadkin looked at Anton Antono< 
vitch, and as, in all probability, our hero’s countenance fully 
reflected his real condition and harmonized with the whole 
position, and was consequently, from one point of view, very 
remarkable, good natured Anton Antonovitch, laying aside his 
pen, inquired after his health with marked sympathy. 

“ I’m very well, thank God, Anton Antonovitch,” said 
Mr. Golyadkin, stammering. 44 I am perfectly well, Anton 
Antonovitch. I am all right now, Anton Antonovitch,” he 
added uncertainly, not yet fully trusting Anton Antonovitch, 
whose name he had mentioned so often. 

44 I fancied you were not quite well : though that’s not to 
be wondered at; no, indeed! Nowadays especially there’s 
such a lot of illness going about. Do you know . . .” 

14 Yes, Anton Antonovitch, I know there is such a lot of 
illness ... I did not mean that, Anton Antonovitch,” Mr. 
Golyadkin went on, looking intently at Anton Antonovitch. 

44 You see, Anton Antonovitch, I don’t even know how you, 
that is, I mean to say, how to approach this matter, Anton 
Antonovitch. ...” 

44 How so ? I really ... do you know ... I must confess 
I don’t quite understand; you must . . . you must explain, 
you krow, in what way you are in difficulties,” said Anton 
Antonovitch, beginning to be in difficulties himself, seeing that 
there were actually tears in Mr. Golyadkin’s eyes. 

44 Really, Anton Antonovitch . . . I . . . here . . . there’s a 
clerk here, Anton Antonovitch ...” 

44 Well ! I don’t understand now.” 

14 1 mean to say, Anton Antonovitch, there’s a new clerk 
here.” 

44 Yes, there is ; a namesake of yours.” 

" What ? ” cried Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ I say a namesake of jours ; his name’s Golyadkin too. 
Isn’t he a brother of yours 1 ” 

184 



" No, Anton Antonovitch, I . . .” 

11 H’m ! you don’t say so ! Why, I thought he must be a 
relation of yours. Do you know, there’s a sort of family 
likeness.” 

Mr. Golyadkin was petrified with astonishment, and for the 
moment he could not speak. To treat so lightly such a horrible, 
unheard-of thing, a thing undeniably rare and curious in its 
way, a thing which would have amazed even an unconcerned 
spectator, to talk of a family resemblance when he could see 
himself as in a looking-glass ! 

“ Do you know, Yakov Pctrovitch, what I advise you to do ? ” 
Anton Antonovitch went on. “ Go and consult a doctor. Do 
you know, you look somehow quite unwell. Your eyes look 
peculiar . . . you know, there’s a peculiar expression in them.” 

“ No, Anton Antonovitch, I feel, of course , . . that is, I 
keep wanting to ask about thjs clerk.” 

“Wen?” 

“ That is, have not you noticed, Anton Antonovitch, some- 
thing peculiar about him, something very marked ? ” 

“ That is . . . ? ” 

“ That is, I mean, Anton Antonovitch, a striking likeness 
with somebody, for instance; with me, for instance 1 You 
spoke just now, you see, Anton Antonovitch, of a family likeness. 
You let slip the remark. . . . You know there really are some- 
times twins exactly alike, like two drops of water, so that they 
can’t be told apart. Well, it’s that that I mean.” 

“ To be sure,” said Anton Antonovitch, after a moment’s 
thought, speaking as though he w^ere struck by the fact for the 
first time. “ yes, indeed ! You are right, there is a striking 
likeness, and you are quite right in w'hat you say. You really 
might be mistaken for one another,” he w’ent on, opemng his 
eyes wider and wider; “ and, do you know, Yakov Petrovitch, 
it’s positively a marvellous likeness, fantastic, in fact, as the 
saying is ; that is, just as you . . . Have you observed, Yakov 
Petrovitch? I wanted to ask you to explain it; ye9, I must 
confess I didn’t take particular notice at first. It’s w'onderful, 
it’s really wonderful ! And, you know, you are not a native of 
these parts, are you, Yakov Petrovitch ? ” 

“ No.” 

“ He is not from these parts, you know, either. Perhaps he 
comes from the same part of the country as you do. Where, may 
I make bold to inquire, did your mother live for the most part ] ” 

185 



“ You said . . . you say, Anton Antonovitch that he is not 
a native of these parts ? ” 

“ No, he is not. And, indeed, how strange ’t is ! ” continued 
the talkative Anton Antonovitch, for whom it was a genuine 
treat to gossip. “ It may well arouse curiosity, and y:t, you 
know, you might often pass him by, brush against him, without 
noticing anything. But you mustn’t be upset about it. Its 
a thing that does happen Do you know, the same thing, l 
must tell you, happened to my aunt on my mother s side she 
saw her own double before her death 

“ No, I — excuse my interrupting you, Anton Antonovitch — I 
wanted to find out, Anton Antonovitch, how that clerk . . . 
that is, on what footing is he here ? ” 

“ In place of Semyon Ivanovitch, to fill the vacancy Wt by 
his death; the po3t was vacant, so he was appointed. Do 
you know, I m told poor dear Semyon I\anovitch left three 
children, all tiny dots. The widow fell ar the feet of his Excel- 
lency. They do say che’s hiding something ; she’s got a bit of 
money, but she s hiding it ’ 

“ No, Anton Antonovitch, I was still referring to that 
circumstance. ’ 

“ You mean . . . 1 To be sure ! But why are you so inter 
ested in that ? I tell you not to upset yourself. All this is 
temporary to some extent. Why, after ail, you know, you have 
nothing to do with it. So it has been ordained by God Almighty, 
it’s His will, and it is sinful repining. His wisdom is apparent 
in it. And as far as I can make out, Yakov Petrovit'h, you 
are not to blame in any way. There are all sorts of strange 
things in the world ! Mother Nature is liberal with her fcifts, 
and you are not called upon to answer for it you won t be 
responsible. Here, for instance, you" have heard, I expect, of 
those — what’s their name ? — oh, the Siamese twins who are 
jomed together at the back, live and eat and sleep together. 
I’m told they get a lot of money/’ 

“ Allow me, Anton Antonovitch . . 

“ I understand, I understand ! Yes ! But what of it ? It’s 
no matter, I tell you, as far as I can see there’s nothing for you 
to upset yourself about. After all, he’s a clerk — as a clerk he 
seems to be a capable man. He says his name is Golyadkm, 
that he’s not a native of this district, and that he’s a titular 
councillor. He had a personal interview with his Excellency.’ , 

“ And how did his Excellency . . i ” 

186 



" It was all right ; I am told he gave a satisfactory account 
of himself, gave his reasons, said, ‘ It’s hke this, your Excel- 
lency,’ and that he was without means and anxious to enter the 
service, and would be particularly flattered to be serving under 
his Excellency . . all that was proper, you know ; he expressed 

himself neatly. He must be a sensible man. But of course he 
catiie with a recommendation ; he couldn’t have got in without 
that. . . 

“ Oh, from whom . . . that is, I mean, who is it has had a 
hand in this shameful business ? ” 

“ Yes, a good recommendation, I’m told, his Excellency, I’m 
told, laughed with Audrey Filippovitch.” 

“ Laughed with Audrey Filippovitch ? ” 

“ Yes, he only just smiled and said that it was all nght, and 
that he had nothing against it, so long as he did his duty. . . 

“ Well, and what more ? You relieve me to some extent, 
Anton Antonovitch ; go on, I entreat you.” 

“ Excuse me, I must tell you again. . . . Well, then, come, 
it’s nothing, it’s a very simple matter ; you mustn’t upset your- 
self, I tell you, and there’s nothing suspicious about it ...” 

“ No. I . . . that is, Anton Antonovitch, I want to ask you, 
didn’t his Excellency say anything more . . . about me, for 
instance ? ” 

“ Well ! To be suro ! No, nothing of the sort; you can set 
your mind quite at rest. You know it is, of course, a rather 
striking circumstance, and at first . . . why, here, I, for instance, 
I scarcely noticed it I really don’t know why I didn’t notice 
it till you mentioned it. But you can set your mind at rest 
entirely. He said nothing particular, absolutely nothing,” 
added good-natured Anton Antonovitch, gettmg up from his 
chair. 

“ So then, Anton Antonovitch, I . . .” 

“ Oh, you must excuse me. Here I’ve been gossiping about 
these trivial matters, and I’ve business that is important and 
urgent. I must inquire about it.” 

“Anton Antonovitch ! ” Andrcy Filippovitch’s voice sounded, 
summoning him politely, “ his Excellency has been asking for 
you.” 

“ This minute, I’m ooming this minute, Andrey Filippovitch.” 
And Anton Antonovitch, taking a pile of papers, flew off first 
to Andrey Filippovitch and then into his Excellency’s room. 

“ Then what is the meaning of it ? ” thought Mr. Golyadkin. 

187 



11 Is there some sort of game going on ? So the wind’s in that 
quarter now. . . . That’s just as well; so things have taken a 
much pleasanter turn,” our hero said to himself, rubbing his 
hands, and so delighted that he scarcely knew where he was. 
“ So our position is an ordinary thing. So it turns out to be 
all nonsense, it comes to nothing at all. No one has done any. 
thing really, and they are not budging, the rascals, they are 
sitting busy over their work ; that’s splendid, splendid ! I like 
the good-natured fellow, I’ve always liked him, and I’m always 
ready to respect him . . . though it must be said one doesn’t 
know what to think; this Anton Antonovitch . . . I’m afraid 
to trust him ; his hair’s very grey, and he’s so old he’s getting 
shaky. It’s an immense and glorious thing that his Excellency 
said nothing, and let it pass ! It’s a good thing ! I approve ! 
Only why does Andrey Filippovitch interfere with his grins? 
What’s he got to do with it ? The old rogue. Always on my 
track, always, like a black cat, on the watch to run across a 
man’s path, always thwarting and annoying a man, always 
annoying and thwarting a man. . . .” 

Mr. Golyadkin looked around him again, and again his hopes 
revived. Yet he felt that he was troubled by one remote idea, 
an unpleasant idea. It even occurred to him that he might 
try somehow to make up to the clerks, to be the first in the 
field even (perhaps when leaving the office or going up to them 
as though about his work), to drop a hint in the course of con- 
versation, saying, “ This is how it is, what a striking likeness, 
gentlemen, a strange circumstance, a burlesque farce ! ” — that 
is, treat it all lightly, and in this way sound the depth of the 
danger. “ Devils breed in still waters,” our hero concluded 
inwardly 

Mr. Golyadkin, however, only contemplated this ; he thought 
better of it in time. He realized that this would be gomg too 
far. “ That’s your temperament,” he said to himself, tapping 
himself lightly on the forehead ; “as soon as you gain anything 
you are delighted ! You’re a simple soul ! No, you and I had 
better be patient, Yakov Petrovitch ; let us wait and be patient ! ” 

Nevertheless, as we have mentioned already, Mr. Golyadkin 
was buoyed up with the most confident hopes, feeling as though 
he had risen from the dead. 

“ No matter,” he thought, “ it’s as though a hundred tons 
had been lifted off my chest ! Here is a circumstance, to be 
sure ! The box has been opened by lifting the lid. Krylov is 

188 



right, a clever chap, a rogue, that Krylov, and a great fable- 
writer ! And as for him, let him work in the office, and good 
luck to him so long as he doesn't meddle or interfere with any 
one ; let him work in the office — I consent and approve ! ” 

Meanwhile the hours were passing, flying by, and before he 
noticed the time it struck four. The office was closed. Andrey 
Filippovitch took his hat, and all followed his example in due 
course. Mr Golyadkin dawdled a little on purpose, long 
enough to be the last to go out when all the others had gone 
their several ways. Going out from the street he felt as though 
he were in Paradise, so that he even felt inclined to go a longer 
way round, and to walk along the Nevsky Prospect. 

“To be sure this is destiny,” thought our hero, “this un- 
expected turn in affairs. And the weather's more cheerful, and 
the frost and the little sledges. And the frost suits the Russian, 
the Russian gets on capitally with the frost. I like the Russian. 
And the dear little snow, and the first few flakes in autumn; 
the sportsman would say, 4 It would be nice to go shooting 
hares in the first snow.' Well, there, it doesn't matter.” 

This was how Mr. Golyadkin’s enthusiasm found expression. 
Yet something was fretting in his brain, not exactly melancholy, 
but at times he had such a gnawing at his heart that he did 
not know how to find relief. 

14 Let us wait for the day, though, and then we shall rejoice. 
And, after all, you know, what does it matter ? Come, let us 
think it over, let us look at it. Come, let us consider it, my 
young friend, let us consider it. Why, a man’s exactly like 
you in the first plaee, absolutely the same. Well, what is there 
m that ? If there is such a man, why should I weep over it ? 
What is it to me ? I Btand aside, I whistle to myself, and 
that's all ! That's what I laid myself open to, and that’s all 
about it ! Let him work in the office ! Well, it's strange and 
marvellous, they say, that the Siamese twins . . . But why 
bring in the Siamese twins? They are twins, of course, but 
even great men, you know, sometimes look queer creatures. 
In fact, we know from history that the famous Suvorov used 
to crow like a cock. . . . But there, he did all that with political 
motives ; and he was a great general . . . but what are generals, 
after all ? But I keep myself to myself, that's all, and I don’t 
care about any one else, and, secure in my innocence, I scorn 
my enemies. I am not one to intrigue, and I'm proud of it 
Genuine, straightforward, neat and nice, meek and mild." 

189 



All at once Mr. Golyadkin broke off, his tongue failed him 
and he began trembling like a leaf; he even closed his eyes 
for a minute. Hoping, however, that the object of his terror 
was only an illusion, he opened his eyes at last and stole a timid 
glance to the right. No, it was not an illusion ! . . . His 
acquaintance of that morning was tripping along by his side, 
8mihng, peeping into his face, and apparently seeking an oppor- 
tunity to begin a conversation with him. The conversation was 
not begun, however. They both walked like this for about 
fifty paces. All Mr. Golyadkin’s efforts were concentrated on 
muffling himself up, hiding himself in his coat and pulling his 
hat down as far as possible over his eyes. To complete his 
mortification, his companion’s coat and hat looked as though 
they had been taken off Mr. Golyadkin himself 

“ Sir,” our hero articulated at last, trying to 6peak almost 
in a whisper, and not looking at his companion, “ we are going 
different ways, I believe. ... I am convinced of it, in fact,” 
he said, after a brief pause “ I am convinced, indeed, that you 
quite understand me,” he added, rather severely, in conclusion. 

“ I could have wished . . .” his companion pronounced at 
last, “ I could have wished ... no doubt you will be mag- 
nanimous and pardon me ... I don’t know to whom to address 
myself here . . . my circumstances ... I trust you will pardon 
my intrusiveness. I fancied, indeed, that, moved by com- 
passion, you showed some interest in me this morning. On 
my side, I felt drawn to you from the first moment. I . . 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin inwardly wished that his com- 
panion might sink into the earth. 

“ If I might venture to hope that you would accord me an 
indulgent hearing, Yakov Petrovitch ...” 

“ We — here, we — we . . . you had better come home with 
me,” answered Mr. Golyadkin. “ We will cross now to the 
other side of the Nevsky Prospect, it will be more convenient 
for us there, and then by the little back street . . . we’d better 
go by the back street.” 

” Very well, by all means let us go by the back street,” our 
hero’s meek companion responded timidly, suggesting by the 
tone of his reply that it was not for him to choose, and that in 
his position he was quite prepared to accept the back street. 
As for Mr. Golyadkin, he was utterly unable to grasp what was 
happening to him. He could not believe in himself. He could 
not get over his amazement, 

190 



CHAPTER VII 

Hi recovered himself a little on the staircase as he went up to 
his flat. 

“ Oh, I'm & sheep’s head,” he railed at himself inwardly. 
“ Where am I taking him ? I am thrusting my head into the 
noose. What will Petrushka think, seeing us together 1 What 
wiD the scoundrel dare to imagine now ? He’s suspicious. . . .” 

But it was too late to regret it. Mr. Golyadkin knocked at 
the door; it was opened, and Petrushka began taking off the 
visitor’s coat as well as his master’s. Mr. Golyadkin looked 
askance, just stealing a glance at Petrushka, trying to read his 
countenance and divine what he was thinking. But to his 
intense astonishment he saw that his servant showed no trace 
of surprise, but seemed, on the contrary, to be expecting some- 
thing of the sort. Of course he did look morose, as it was; 
he kept his eyes turned away and looked as though he would 
like to fall upon somebody. 

“ Hasn’t somebody bewitched them all to-day ? ” thdught 
our hero. “ Some devil must have got round them. There 
certainly must be something peculiar in the whole lot of them 
to-day. Damn it all, what a worry it is ! ” 

Such were Mr. Golyadkin’s thoughts and reflections as he led 
his visitor into his room and politely asked him to sit down. 
The visitor appeared to be greatly embarrassed, he was very 
shy, and humbly watched every movement his ho 3 t made, 
caught his glance, and seemed trying to divine his thoughts 
from them. There was a downtrodden, crushed, scared look 
about all his gestures, so that — if the comparison may bo allowed 
— he was at that moment rather like the man who, having lost 
his clothes, is dressed up in somebody else’s : the sleeves work 
up to the elbows, the waist is almost up to his neck, and he keeps 
every minute pulling down the short waistcoat; he wriggles 
sideways and turns away, tries to hide himself, or peeps mto 
every face, and listens whether people are talking of his position, 
laughing at him or putting him to shame — and he is cnmson 
with shame and overwhelmed with confusion and wounded 
vanity. . . . Mr. Golyadkin put down his hat in the window, 
and carelessly sent it flying to the floor. The visitor darted 
at once to pick it up, brushed off the dust, and carefully put it 
hack, while he laid his own on the floor near a chair, on the 

191 



edge of which he meekly seated himself. This little circum- 
stance did something to open Mr. Golyadkin's eyes ; he realized 
that the man was in great straits, and so did not put himself out 
for his visitor as he had done at first, very properly leaving all 
that to the man himself. The visitor, for his part, did nothing 
either; whether he was shy, a little ashamed, or from polite- 
ness was waiting for his host to begin is not certain and would 
be difficult to determine. At that moment Petrushka came in ; 
he stood still in the doorway, and fixed his eyes in the direction 
furthest from where the visitor and his master were seated. 

“ Shall I bring in dinner for two ? ” he said carelessly, in a 
husky voice. 

“ I — I don’t know . . . you . . . yes, bring dinner for two, 
my boy.” 

Petrushka went out. Mr. Golyadkin glanced at his visitor. 
The latter crinlsoned to his ears. Mr. Golyadkin was a kind- 
hearted man, and so in the kindness of his heart he at once 
elaborated a theory. 

“ The fellow’s hard up,” he thought. “ Yes, and in his 
situation only one day. Most likely he’s suffered in his time. 
Maybe his good clothes are all that he has, and nothing to get 
him a dinner. Ah, poor fellow, how crushed he seems ! But 
no matter; in a way it’s better so. . . . Excuse me,” began 
Mr. Golyadkin, “ allow me to ask what I may call you.” 

" I ... I ... I’m Yakov Petrovitch,” his visitor almost 
whispered, as though conscience -stricken and ashamed, as 
though apologizing for being called Yakov Petrovitch too. 

" Yakov Petrovitch ! ” repeated our hero, unable to conceal 
his confusion. 

” Yes, just so. . . . The same name as yours,” responded 
the meek visitor, venturing to smile and speak a little jocosely. 
But at once he drew back, assuming a very serious air, though 
a little disconcerted, noticing that his host was in no joking 
mood. 

“ You . . . allow me to ask you, to what am I indebted for 
the honour . . . ? ” 

“ Knowing your generosity and your benevolence,” inter- 
posed the visitor in a rapid but timid voice, half rising from his 
seat, “ I have ventured to appeal to you and to beg for your . . . 
acquaintance and protection . . he concluded, choosing 
his phrases with difficulty and trying to select words not too 
flattering or servile, that he might not compromise his dignity 

192 



and not so bold as to suggest an unseemly equality. In fact, 
one may say the visitor behaved like a gentlemanly beggar 
with a darned waistcoat, with an honourable passport in his 
pocket, who has not yet learnt by practice to hold out his hand 
properly for alms. 

“ You perplex me,” answered Mr. Golyadkin, gazing round 
at himself* his walls and his visitor. “In what could I . . . 
that is, I mean, in what way could I be of service to you ? ” 

“ I felt drawn to you, Yakov Petrovitch, at first sight, and, 
graciously forgive me, I built my hopes on you — I made bold 
to build my hopes on you, Yakov Petrovitch. I . . . I’m in 
a desperate plight here, Yakov Petrovitch ; I’m poor, I’ve had 
a great deal of trouble, Yakov Petrovitch, and have only 
recently come here. Learning that you, with your innate 
goodness and excellence of heart, are of the same name ...” 

Mr. Golyadkin frowned. 

“ Of the same name as myself and a pative of the same 
district, T made up my mind to appeal to you, and to make 
known to you my difficult position.” 

“ Verv good, very good ; I really don’t know what to say,” 
Mr. Golyadkin responded in an embarrassed voice. “ We’ll 
have a talk after dinner. ...” 

The visitor bowed; dinner was brought in. Petrushka laid 
the table, and Mr. Golyadkin and his visitor proceeded to 
partake of it. The dinner did not last long, for they were both 
in a hurry, the host because he felt ill at ease, and was, besides, 
ashamed that the dinner was a poor one — he was partly ashamed 
because he wanted to give the visitor a good meal, and partly 
because he wanted to show him he did not live like a beggar. 
The visitor, on his side too, was in terrible confusion and ex- 
tremely embarrassed. When he had finished the piece of 
bread he had taken, ho was afraid to put out his hand to take 
another piece, was ashamed to help himself to the best morsels, 
and was continually assuring his host that he was not at all 
hungry, that the dinner was excellent, that he was absolutely 
satisfied with it, and should not forget it to his dying day. 
When the meal was over Mr. Golyadkin lighted his pipe, and 
offered a second, which was brought in, to the visitor. They sat 
facing each other, and the visitor began telling his adventures. 

Mr. Golyadkin junior’s story lasted for three or four hours. 
His history was, however, composed of the most trivial and 
wretched, if one may say so, incidents. It dealt with details 



of service in some lawcourt in the provinces, of prosecutors and 
presidents, of some department intrigues, of the depravity of 
some registration clerks, of an inspector, of the sudden appoint- 
ment of a new chief in the department, of how the second 
Mr. Golyadkin had suffered, quite without any fault on his 
part ; of his aged aunt, Pelagea Semyonovna ; of how, through 
various intrigues on the part of his enemies, he had lost his 
situation, and had come to Petersburg on foot ; of the harassing 
and wretched time he had spent here in Petersburg, how for a 
long time he had tried in vain to get a job, had spent all his 
money, had nothing left, had been living almost in the street, 
lived on a crust of bread and washed it down with his tears, 
slept on the bare floor, and finally how some good Christian 
had exerted himself on his behalf, had given him an introduction, 
and had nobly got him into a new berth. Mr. Golyadkins 
visitor shed tears as he told his story, and wiped his eyes with 
a blue-check handkerchief that looked like oilcloth. He ended 
by making a clean breast of it to Mr. Golyadkin, and confessing 
that he was not only for the time without means of subsistence 
and money for a decent lodging, but had not even the where- 
withal to fit himself out properly, so that he had not, he said 
in conclusion, been able to get together enough for a pair of 
wretched boots, and that he had had to hire a uniform for the 
time. 

Mr. Golyadkin was melted ; he was genuinely touched. 
Even though his visitor’s story was the paltriest story, every 
word of it was like heavenly manna to his heart. The fact was 
that Mf. Golyadkin was beginning to forget his last misgivings, 
to surrender his soul to freedom and rejoicing, and at last men- 
tally dubbed himself a fool. It was all so natural ! And what 
a thing to break his heart over, what a thing to be so distressed 
about ! To be sure there was, there really was, one ticklish 
circumstance— but, after all, it was not a misfortune ; it could 
be no disgrace to a man, it could not cast a slur on his honour 
or ruin his career, if he were innocent, since nature herself was 
mixed up in it. Moreover, the visitor begged for protection, 
wept, railed at destiny, seemed such an artless, pitiful, insig- 
nificant person, with no craft or malice about him, and he 
seemed now to be ashamed himself, though perhaps on different 
grounds, of the strange resemblance of his countenance with 
that of Mr. Golyadkin’s. His behaviour was absolutely unim- 
peachable ; his one desire was to please his host, and he looked 

194 



as ft man looks who feels conscience-stricken and to blame in 
regard to some one else. If any doubtful point were touched 
upon, for instance, the visitor at once agreed with Mr. Golyadkin’s 
opinion. If by mistake he advanced an opinion in opposition 
to Mr. Golyadkin's, and afterwards noticed that he had made 
a slip, he immediately corrected his mistake, explained himself 
and made it clear that he meant the same thing as his host, 
that he thought as he did and took the same view of everything 
as he did. In fact, the visitor made every possible effort to 
“ make up to ” Mr. Golyadkin, so that the latter made up his 
mind at last that his visitor must be a very amiable person in 
every way. Meanwhile, tea was brought in ; it w r as nearly nine 
o'clock. Mr. Golyadkin felt in a very good-humour, grew lively 
and skittish, let himself go a little, and finally plunged into a 
most animated and interesting conversation with his visitor. 
In his festive moments Mr. Golyadkin was fond of telling 
interesting anecdotes. So now he told the visitor a great deal 
about Petersburg, about its entertainments and attractions, 
about the theatre, the clubs, about Briilov’s picture, and about 
the two Englishmen who came from England to Petersburg on 
purpose to look at the iron railing of the Summer Garden, and 
returned at once when they had seen it ; about the office ; about 
Olsufy Ivanovitch and Andrey Filippovitch ; about the way 
that Russia was progressing, was hour by hour progressing 
towards a state of perfection, so that 

“Arts and letters flourish here to-day 

about an anecdote he had lately read in the Northern Bee concern- 
ing a boa-constrictor in India of immense strength; about fearon 
Brambeus, and so on. In short, Mr. Golyadkin was quite happy, 
first, because his mind was at rest, secondly, because, so far from 
being afraid of his enemies, he was quite prepared now to chal- 
lenge them all to mortal combat ; thirdly, because he was now 
in the role of patron and was doing a good deed. Yet he was 
conscious at the bottom of his heart that he was not perfectly 
happy, that there was still a hidden worm gnawing at his heart, 
though it was only a tiny one. Ho was extremely worried by 
the thought of the previous evening at Olsufy Ivanovitch's. 
He would have given a great deal now for nothing to have 
happened of what took place then. 

“ It's no matter, though ! ” our hero decided at last, and he 
firmly resolved in his heart to behave well in future and never 

195 



to be guilty of such pranks again. As Mr. Golyadkin was now 
completely worked up, and had suddenly become almost bliss- 
ful, the fancy took him to have a jovial time. Rum was brought 
in by Petrushka, and punch was prepared. The visitor and his 
host drained a glass each, and then a second. The visitor 
appeared even more amiable than before, and gave more than 
one proof of his frankness and charming character ; he entered 
keenly into Mr. Golyadkin’s joy, seemed only to rejoioe in his 
rejoicing, and to look upon him, as his one and only benefactor. 
Taking up a pen and a sheet of paper, he asked Mr. Golyadkin 
not to look at what he was going to write, but afterwards showed 
his host what he had written. It turned out to be a verse of 
four lines, written with a good deal of feeling, in excellent 
language and handwriting, and evidently was the composition 
of the amiable visitor himself. The lines were as follows — 

•‘If thou forget me, 

I shall not forget thee; 

Though all things may be. 

Do not thou forget me.’* 

With tears in his eyes Mr. Golyadkin embraced his companion, 
and, completely overcome by his feelings, he began to initiate 
his friend into some of his own secrets and private affairs, 
Andrey Filippovitch and Klara Olsufyevna being prominent in 
his remarks. 

“ Well, you may be sure we shall get on together, Yakov 
Petrovitch,” said our hero to his visitor. “ You and I will 
take to each other like fish to the water, Yakov Petrovitch; 
we shall be like brothers; we’ll be cunning, my dear fellow, 
we’ll work together ; we’ll get up an intrigue, too, to pay them 
out. To pay them out we’ll get up an intrigue too. And 
don’t you trust any of them. I know you, Yakov Petrovitch, 
and I understand your character; you’ll tell them everything 
straight out, you know, you’re a guileless soul ! You must 
hold aloof from them all, my boy.” 

His companion entirely agreed with him, thanked Mr. 
Golyadkin, and he, too, grew tearful at last. 

** Do you know, Yasha,” Mr. Golyadkin went on in a shaking 
voice, weak with emotion, “ you must stay with me for a time, 
or stay with me for ever. We shall get on together. What 
do you say, brother, eh ? And don’t you worry or repine 
because there’s such a strange circumstance about us now ; it’s 

196 



a sin to repine, brother ; it’s nature ! And Mother Nature is 
liberal with her gifts, so there, brother Yasha ! It’s from love 
for you that I speak, from brotherly love. But we’ll be cunning, 
Yasha; we’ll lay a mine, too, and we’ll make them laugh the 
other side of their mouths.’* 

They reached their third and fourth glasses of punch at last, 
and then Mr. Golyadkin began to be aware of two sensations : 
the one that he was extraordinarily happy, and the other that 
he could not stand upon his legs. The guest was, of course, 
invited to stay the night. A bed was somehow made up on 
two chairs. Mr. Golyadkin junior declared that under a friend’s 
roof the bare floor would bo a soft bed, that for his part he could 
sleep anywhere, humbly and gratefully ; that he was in paradise 
now, that he had been through a great deal of trouble and grief 
in his time ; he had seen ups and downs, had all sorts of things 
to put up with, and — who could tell what the future would be ? 
— maybe he would have still more to put up with. Mr. Golyadkin 
senior protested against this, and began to maintain that one 
must put one’s faith in God. His guest entirely agreed, observ- 
ing that there was, of course, no one like God. At this point 
Mr. Golyadkin senior observed that in certain respects the 
Turks were right in calling upon God even in their sleep. Then, 
though disagreeing with certain learned professors in the 
slanders they had promulgated against the Turkish prophet 
Mahomet and recognizing him as a great politician in his own 
line, Mr. Golyadkin passed to a very interesting description of 
an Algerian barber’s shop which he had read in a book of mis- 
cellanies. The friends laughed heartily at the simplicity of the 
Turks, but paid due tribute to their fanaticism, which they 
ascribed to opium. ... At last the guest began undressing, 
and thinking in the kindness of his heart that very likely he 
hadn’t even a decent shirt, Mr. Golyadkin went behind the 
screen to avoid embarrassing a man who had suffered enough, 
and partly to reassure himself as far as possible about Petrushka, 
to sound him, to cheer him up if he could, to be kind to the 
fellow so that every one might be happy and that everything 
might be pleasant all round. It must be remarked that Petrushka 
still rather bothered Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ You go to bed now, Pyotr,” Mr. Golyadkin said blandly, 
going into his servant’s domain ; “ you go to bed now and wake 
me up at eight o’clock. Do you understand, Petrushka ? ” 

Mr. Golyadkin spoke with exceptional softness and friend - 

197 



liness. But Petrushka remained mute. He was busy making 
his bed, and did not even turn round to face his master, which 
he ought to have done out of simple respect. 

“ Did you hear what I said, Pyotr ? ” Mr. Golyadkin went 
on. “ You go to bed now and wake me to-morrow at eight 
o’clock; do you understand? ” 

“ Why, I know that ; what’s the use of telling me ? ” Petrushka 
grumbled to himself. 

“Well, that’s right, Petrushka; I only mentioned it that 
you might be happy and at rest. Now we are all happy, so I 
want you, too, to be happy and satisfied. And now I wish you 
good-night. Sleep, Petrushka, sleep ; we all have to work. . . . 
Don’t think anything amiss, my man . . .” Mr. Golyadkin 
began, but stopped short. “Isn’t this too much?” he 
thought. “ Haven’t I gone too far ? That’s how it always 
is; I always overdo things.” 

Our hero felt much dissatisfied with himself as he left Petrushka. 
He was, besides, rather wounded by Petrushka’s grumpiness 
and rudeness. “ One jests with the rascal, his master does him 
too much honour, and the rascal does not feel it,” thought 
Mr. Golyadkin. “ But there, that’s the nasty way of all that 
sort of people ! ” 

Somewhat shaken, he went back to his room, and, seeing that 
his guest had settled himself for the night, he sat down on the 
edge of his bed for a minute. 

“ Come, you must own, Yasha,” he began in a whisper, 
wagging his head, “you’re a rascal, you know; what a Way 
you’ve treated me ! You see, you’ve got my name, do you 
know that ? ” he went on, jesting in a rather familiar way with 
his visitor. At last, saying a friendly good-night to him, 
Mr. Golyadkin began preparing for the night. The visitor 
meanwhile began snoring. Mr. Golyadkin in his turn got into 
bed, laughing and whispering to himself : “ You are drunk to-day, 
my dear fellow, Yakov Petrovitch, you rascal, you old Golyadkin 
— what a surname to have ! Why, what are you so pleased 
about ? You’ll be crying to-morrow, you know, you sniveller; 
what am I to do with you ? ” 

At this point a rather strange sensation pervaded Mr. Gol- 
yadkin’s whole being, something like doubt or remorse. 

“I’ve been over-excited and let myself go,” he thought; 
“ now I’ve a noise in my head and I’m drunk ; I couldn’t 
restrain myself, ass that I am ! and I’ve been babbling bushels 

198 



of nonsense, and, like a rascal, I was planning to be so sly. Of 
course, to forgive and forget injuries is the height of virtue; but 
it’s a bad thing, nevertheless ! Yes, that’s so ! ” 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin got up, took a candle and went 
on tiptoe to look once more at his sleeping guest. He stood over 
him for a long time, meditating deeply. 

“ An unpleasant picture ! A burlesque, a regular burlesque, 
and that’s the fact of the matter ! ” 

At last Mr. Golyadkin settled down finally. There was a 
humming, a buzzing, a ringing in his head. He grew more and 
more drowsy . . . tried to think about something, to remember 
something very interesting, to decide something very important, 
some delicate question — but could not. Sleep descended upon 
his devoted head, and he slept as people generally do sleep who 
are not used to drinking and have consumed five glasses of punch 
at some festive gathering. 


CHAPTER VIII 

Mr. Golyadkin woke up next morning at eight o’clock as usual ; 
as soon as he was awake he recalled all the adventures of the 
previous evening — and frowned as he recalled them. “ Ugh, 
I did play the fool last night ! ” he thought, sitting up and 
glancing at his visitor’s bed. But what w*as his amazement 
when he saw in the room no trace, not only of his visitor, but 
even of the bed on which his visitor had slept ! 

“What does it mean ? ” Mr. Golyadkin almost shrieked. “ What 
can it be ? What does this new circumstance portend ? ” 

While Mr. Golyadkin was gazing in open-mouthed bewilder- 
ment at the empty spot, the door creaked and Petrushka came 
in with the tea-tray. 

“ Where, where ? ” our hero said in a voice hardly audible, 
pointing to the place which had been occupied by his visitor 
the night before. 

At first Petrushka made no answer and did not look at his 
master, but fixed his eyes upon the comer to the right till Mr. 
Golyadkin felt compelled to look into that comer too. After 
a brief silence, however, Petrushka in a rude and husky voice 
answered that his master was not at home. 

“ You idiot ; why I’m your master, Petrushka ! ” said Mr. 
Golyadkin in a breaking voice, looking open-eyed at his servant. 

199 



Petrushka made no reply, but he gave Mr. Golyadkin such a 
look that the latter crimsoned to his ears — looked at him with 
an insulting reproachfulness almost equivalent to open abuse. 
Mr. Golyadkin was utterly flabbergasted, as the saying is. At 
last Petrushka explained that the other one had gone away an 
hour and a half ago, and would not wait. His answer, of course, 
sounded truthful and probable ; it was evident that Petrushka 
was not lying; that his insulting look and the phrase the other 
one employed by him were only the result of the disgusting 
ciroumstance with which he was already familiar, but still he 
understood, though dimly, that something was wrong, and that 
destiny had some other surprise, not altogether a pleasant one, 
in store for him. 

“ All right, we shall see,” he thought to himself. “ We shall 
see in due time; we’ll get to the bottom of all this. ... Oh, 
Lord, have mercy upon us ! ” he moaned in conclusion, in quite 
a different voice. “ And why did I invite him, to what end 
did I do all that ? Why, I am thrusting my head into their 
thievish noose myself; I am tying the noose with my own 
hands. Ach, you fool, you fool ! You can’t resist babbling like 
some silly boy, some chancery clerk, some wretched creature of 
no class at all, some rag, some rotten dishclout ; you’re a gossip, 
an old woman ! . . . Oh, all ye saints ! And he wrote verses, 
the rogue, and expressed his love for me ! How could . . . 
How can I show him the door in a polite way if he turns up again, 
the rogue? Of course, there are all sorts of ways and means. 
I can say this is how it is, my salary being so limited. ... Or 
scare him off in some way saying that, taking this and that into 
consideration, I am forced to make clear . . . that he would 
have to pay an equal share of the cost of board and lodging, 
and pay the money in advance. H’m ! No, damn it all, no ! 
That would be degrading to me. It’s not quite delicate ! 
Couldn’t I do something like this : suggest to Petrushka that 
he should annoy him in some way, should be disrespectful, be 
rude, and get rid of him in that way. Set them at each other 
in some way. . . . No, damn it all, no ! It’s dangerous and 
again, if one looks at it from that point of view — it’s not the 
right thing at all ! Not the right thing at all ! But there, 
even if he doesn’t come, it will be a bad look-out, too ! I babbled 
to him last night ! . . . Ach, it’s a bad look-out, a bad look-out ! 
Ach, we’re in a bad way ! Oh, I’m a cursed fool, a cursed fool ! 
You can’t train yourself to behave as you ought, you can’t 

200 



conduct yourself reasonably. Well, what if he comes, and 
refuses. And God grant he may come ! I should be very glad 
if he did come. ...” 

Such were Mr. Golyadkin’s reflections as he swallowed his tea 
and glanced continually at the clock on the wall. 

“ It’s a quarter to nine ; it’s time to go. And something will 
happen ! What will there be there ? I should like to know 
what exactly lies hidden in this — that is, the object, the aim, 
and the various intrigues. It would be a good thing to find out 
what all these people are plotting, and what will be their first 
step. . . .” 

Mr. Golyadkin could endure it no longer. He threw down 
his unfinished pipe, dressed and 6et off for the office, anxious 
to ward off the danger if possible and to reassure himself about 
everything by his presence in person. There was danger : he 
knew himself that there was d an ger. 

“ We . . . will get to the bottom of it,” said Mr. Golyadkin, 
taking off his coat and goloshes in the entry. “ We’ll go into 
all these matters immediately.” 

Making up his mind to act in this way, our hero put himself 
to rights, assumed a correct and official air, and was just about 
to pass into the adjoining room, when suddenly, in the very 
doorway, he jostled against his acquaintance of the day before, 
his friend and companion. Mr. Golyadkin junior seemed not 
to notice Mr. Golyadkin senior, though they met almost nose to 
nose. Mr. Golyadkin junior seemed to be busy, to bo hastening 
somewhere, was breathless; he had such an official, such a 
business-like air that it seemed as though any one could read 
in his face : ‘ Entrusted with a special commission.’ . . . 

“ Oh, it’s you, Yakov Petrovitch ! ” said our hero, clutching 
the hand of his last night’s visitor. 

“ Presently, presently, excuse me, tell me about it after- 
wards,” cried Mr. Golyadkin junior, dashing on. 

“But, excuse me; I believe, Yakov Petrovitch, you 
wanted . . .” 

“ What is it ? Make haste and explain.” 

At this point his visitor of the previous night halted as though 
reluctantly and against his will, and put his ear almost to Mr. 
Golyadkin’s nose. 

“ I must tell you, Yakov Petrovitch, that I am surprised at 
behaviour . . . behaviour which seemingly I could not have 
expected at all.” 


201 



“There's a proper form for everything. Go to his Ex- 
cellency’s secretary and then appeal in the proper way to the 
directors of the office. Have you got your petition ? ” 

“ You ... I really don’t know, Yakov Petrovitch ! You 
simply amaze me, Yakov Petrovitch ! You certainly don’t 
recognize me or, with your characteristic gaiety, you are joking.” 

“ Oh, it’s you,” said Mr. Golyadkin junior, seeming only now 
to recognize Mr. Golyadkin senior. “ So it’s you ? Well, have 
you had a good night ? ” 

Then, smiling a little — a formal and conventional smile, by 
no means the sort of smile that was befitting (for, after all, he 
owed a debt of gratitude to Mr. Golyadkin senior) — smiling this 
formal and conventional smile, Mr. Golyadkin junior added 
that he was very glad Mr. Golyadkin senior had had a good 
night; then he made a slight bow and shuffling a little with 
his feet, looked to the right, and to the left, then dropped his 
eyes to the floor, made for the side door and muttering in a 
hurried whisper that he had a special commission, dashed into 
the next room. He vanished like an apparition. 

“ Well, this is queer ! ” muttered our hero, petrified for a 
moment ; “ this is queer ! This is a strange circumstance.” 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin felt as though he had pins and 
needles all over him. 

“ However,” he went on to himself, as he made his way to his 
department, “ however, I spoke long ago of such a circumstance : 
I had a presentiment long ago that he had a special commission. 
Why, I said yesterday that the man must certainly be employed 
on some' special commission.” 

“ Have you finished copying out the document you had 
yesterday, Yakov Petrovitch,” Anton Antonovitch Syetotchkin 
asked Mr. Golyadkin, when the latter was seated beside him, 
“ Have you got it here ? ” 

“ Yes,” murmured Mr. Golyadkin, looking at the head clerk 
with a rather helpless glance. 

“ That’s right ! I mention it because Andrey Filippovitch 
has asked for it twice. I’ll be bound his Excellency wants 
it. . . .” 

“ Yes, it’s finished. . . 

“ Well, that’s all right then.” 

“ I believe, Anton Antonovitch, I have always performed my 
duties properly. I’m always scrupulous over the work entrusted 
to me by my superiors, and I attend to it conscientiously.” 

202 



“ Yes. Why, what do you mean by that ? ” 

“ I mean nothing, Anton Antonovitch. I only want to 
explain, Anton Antonovitch, that I . . . that is, I meant to 
express that spite and malice sometimes spare no person what- 
ever in their search for their daily and revolting food. . . 

“ Excuse me, I don't quite understand you. What person 
are you alluding to ? ” 

“ I only meant to say, Anton Antonovitch, that I’m seeking 
the straight path and I scorn going to work in a roundabout 
way. That I am not one to intrigue, and that, if I may be 
allowed to say so, I may very justly be proud of it. . . .” 

" Yes. That’s quite so, and to the best of my comprehension 
I thoroughly endorse your remarks; but allow me to tell you, 
Yakov Petrovitch, that personalities are not quite permissible 
in good society, that I, for instance, am ready to put up with 
anything behind my back — for every one’s abused behind his 
back — but to my face, if your please, my good sir, I don’t allow 
any one to be impudent. I’ve grown grey in the government 
service, sir, and I don’t allow' any one to be impudent to me in 
my old age. ...” 

“ No, Anton Antonovitch . . . you see, Anton Antonovitch 
. . . you haven’t quite caught my meaning. To be sure, Anton 
Antonovitch, I for my part could only think it an honour. . . .” 

“ Well, then, I ask your pardon too. We’ve been brought up 
in the old school. And it’s too late for us to learn your new- 
fangled ways. I believe we’ve had understanding enough for 
the service of our country up to now. As you are aware, sir, 
I have an order of merit for twenty-five years’ irreproachable 
service. . . 

“ I feel it, Anton Antonovitch, on my side, too, I quite feel 
all that. But I didn’t mean that, I am speaking of a mask, 
Anton Antonovitch. ...” 

“A mask?” 

“ Again you ... I am apprehensive that you are taking 
this, too, in a wrong sense, that is the sense of my remarks, as 
you say yourself, Anton Antonovitch. I am simply enunciating 
a theory, that is, I am advancing the idea, Anton Antonovitch, 
that persons who wear a mask have become far from uncommon, 
and that nowadays it is hard to recognize the man beneath the 
mask. ...” 

“ Well, do you know, it’s not altogether so hard. Sometimes 
it’s fairly easy. Sometimes one need not go far to look for it.” 

203 



“ No, you know, Anton Antonovitch, I say, I say of myself, 
that I, for instance, do not put on a mask except when there is 
need of it; that is simply at carnival time or at some festive 
gathering, speaking in the literal sense ; but that I do not wear 
a mask before people in daily life, speaking in another less ob- 
vious sense. That’s what I meant to say, Anton Antonovitch.” 

“ Oh, well, but we must drop all this, for now I’ve no time to 
spare,” said Anton Antonovitch, getting up from his seat and 
collecting some papers in order to report upon them to his 
Excellency. “ Your business, as I imagine, will be explained in 
due course without delay. You will see for yourself whom you 
should censure and whom you should blame, and thereupon I 
humbly beg you to spare me from further private explanations 
and arguments which interfere with my work. . . 

“ No, Anton Antonovitch,” Mr. Golyadkin, turning a little 
pale, began to the retreating figure of Anton Antonovitch ; “ I 
had no thought of the kind.” 

“ What does it mean ? ” our hero went on to himself, when 
he was left alone ; “ what quarter is the wind in now, and what 
is one to make of this new turn ? ” 

At the very time when our bewildered and half -crushed hero 
was setting himself to solve this new question, there was a 
sound of movement and bustle in the next room, the door 
opened and Audrey Filippo vitch, who had been on some business 
in his Excellency’s study, appeared breathless in the doorway, 
and called to Mr. Golyadkin. Knowing what was wanted and 
anxious pot to keep Andrey Filippovitch waiting, Mr. Golyadkin 
leapt up from his seat, and as was fitting immediately bustled 
for all he was worth getting the manuscript that was required 
finally neat and ready and preparing to follow the manuscript 
and Andrey Filippovitch into his Excellency’s study. Suddenly, 
almost slipping under the arm of Andrey Filippovitch, who was 
standing right in the doorway, Mr. Golyadkin junior darted into 
the room in breathless haste and bustle, with a solemn and 
resolutely official air ; he bounded straight up to Mr. Golyadkin 
senior, who was expecting nothing less than such a visitation. 

“The papers, Yakov Petrovitch, the papers ... his Ex- 
cellency has been pleased to ask for them ; have you got them 
ready ? ” Mr. Golyadkin senior’s friend whispered in a hurried 
undertone. “ Andrey Filippovitch is waiting for you. . . .” 

“ I know he is waiting without your telling me,” said Mr. 
Golyadkin senior, also in a hurried whisper. 

204 



“ No, Yakov Petrovitch, I did not mean that ; I did not mean 
that at all, Yakov Petrovitch, not that at all ; I sympathize with 
you, Yakov Petrovitch, and am moved by genuine interest .’ 1 

“ Which I most humbly beg you to spare me. Allow me, 
allow me . . .” 

“ You’ll put it in an envelope, o£ course, Yakov Petrovitch, 
and you’ll put a mark in the third page; allow me, Yakov 
Petrovitch. ...” 

“ You allow me, if you please. . 

“ But, I say, there’s a blot here, Yakov Petrovitch ; did you 
know there was a blot here ? . . .” 

At this point Andrey Filippo vitch called Yakov Petrovitch 
. a second time. 

“ One moment, Andrey Filippovitch, I’m only just ... Do 
you understand Russian, sir ? ” 

44 It would be best to take it out with a penknife, Yakov 
Petrovitch. You had better rely upon me ; you had better not 
touch it yourself, Yakov Petrovitch, rely upon me — I’ll do it 
with a penknife. . . .” 

Andrey Filippovitch called Mr. Golyadkin a third time. 

41 But, allow me, where’s the blot ? I don’t think there’s a 
blot at all.” 

44 It’s a huge blot. Here it is ! Here, allow me, I saw it 
here . . . you just let me, Yakov Petrovitch, I’ll just touch it 
with the penknife, I’ll scratch it out with the penknife from 
true-hearted sympathy. There, like this ; see, it’s done.” 

At this point, and quite unexpectedly, Mr. Golyadkin junior 
overpowered Mr. Golyadkin senior in the momentary struggle 
that had arisen between them, and so, entirely against the 
latter’s will, suddenly, without rhyme or reason, took possession 
of the document required by the authorities, and instead of 
scratching it out with the penknife in true-hearted sympathy 
as he had perfidiously promised Mr. Golyadkin senior, hurriedly 
rolled it up, put it under his arm, in two bounds was beside 
Andrey Filippovitch, who noticed none of his manoeuvres, and 
flew with the latter into the Director’s room. Mr. Golyadkin 
remained as though riveted to the spot, holding the penknife 
in his hand and apparently on the point of scratching something 
out with it. . . . 

Our hero could not yet grasp his new position. He could 
not at once recover himself. He felt tne blow, but thought that 
it was somehow all right. In terrible, indescribable misery he 

205 



tore himself at last from his seat, rushed straight to the Director's 
room, imploring heaven on the way that it might somehow all 
be arranged satisfactorily and so would be all right. ... In 
the furthermost room, which adjoined the Director’s private 
room, he ran straight upon Andiey Filippo vitch in company 
with his namesake. Both of them were coming back ; Mr. Goly- 
adkin moved aside. Andrey Filippovitch was talking with a 
good-humoured smile, Mr. Golyadkin senior’s namesake was 
smiling, too, fawning upon Andrey Filippovitch and tripping 
about at a respectful distance from him, and was whispering 
something in his ear with a delighted air, to which Andrey 
Filippovitch assented with a gracious nod. In a flash our hero 
grasped the whole position. The fact was that the work had 
surpassed his Excellency’s expectations (as he learnt afterwards) 
and was finished punctually by the time it was needed. His 
Excellency was extremely pleased with it. It was even said 
that his Excellency had said “ Thank you ” to Mr. Golyadkin 
junior, had thanked him warmly, had said that he would remem' 
ber it on occasion and would never forget it. ... Of course, the 
first thing Mr. Golyadkin did was to protest, to protest with 
the utmost vigour of which he was capable. Pale as death, 
and hardly knowing what ne was doing, he rushed up to Andrey 
Filippovitch. But the latter, hearing that Mr. Golyadkin’s 
business was a private matter, refused to listen, observing firmly 
that he had not a minute tc spare even for his own affairs. 

The curtness of his tone and his refusal struck Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ I had better, perhaps, try in another quarter. ... I had 
better appeal to Anton Antono vitch.” 

But to his disappointment Anton Antono vitch was not avail- 
able either : he, too, was busy over something somewhere ! 

“ Ah, it was not without design that he asked me to spare 
him explanation and discussion ! ” thought our hero. “ This 
was what the old rogue had in his mind ! In that case I shall 
simply make bold to approach his Excellency.” 

Still pale and feeling that his brain was in a complete ferment, 
greatly perplexed as to what he ought to decide to do, Mr. 
Golyadkin sat down on the edge of the chair. “ It would have 
been a great deal better if it had all been just nothing,” he 
kept incessantly thinking to himself. “ Indeed, such a mys- 
terious business was utterly improbable. In the first place, it 
was nonsense, and secondly it could not happen. Most likely 
it was imagination, or something else happened, and not what 

206 



really did happen ; or perhaps I went myself . . . and somehow 
mistook myself for some one else ... in short, it’s an utterly 
impossible thing.” 

Mr. Golyadkin had no sooner made up his mind that it was 
an utterly impossible thing than Mr. Golyadkin junior flew into 
the room with papers in both hands as well as under his arm. 
Saying two or three words about business to Andrey Filippovitch 
as he passed, exchanging remarks with one, polite greetings with 
another, and familiarities with a third, Mr. Golyadkin junior, 
having apparently no time to waste, seemed on the point of 
leaving the room, but luckily for Mr. Golyadkin senior he stopped 
near the door to say a few words as he passed two or three 
clerks who were at work there. Mr. Golyadkin senior rushed 
straight at him. As soon as Mr. Golyadkin junior saw Mr. 
Golyadkin senior’s movement he began immediately, with great 
uneasiness, looking about him to make his escape. But our 
hero already held his last night's guest by the sleeve. The 
clerks surrounding the two titular councillors stepped back and 
waited with curiosity to see what would happen. The senior 
titular councillor realized that public opinion w^as not on his 
side, he realized that they were intriguing against him : which 
made it all the more necessary to hold his own now. The 
moment was a decisive one. 

“ Well ! ” said Mr. Golyadkin junior, looking rather im- 
patiently at Mr. Golyadkin senior. 

The latter could hardly breathe. 

“ I don’t know,” he began, “ in what way to make plain to 
you the strangeness of your behaviour, sir.” 

“ Well. Go on.” At this point Mr. Golyadkin junior turned 
round and winked to the clerks standing round, as though to 
give them to understand that a comedy was beginning. 

“ The impudence and shamelessness of your manners with me, 
sir, in the present case, unmasks your true character . . . better 
than any words of mine could do. Don’t rely on your trickery : 
it is worthless. ...” 

“ Come, Yakov Petrovitch, tell me now, how did you spend 
the night ? ” answered Mr. Golyadkin junior, looking Mr. Gol- 
yadkin senior straight in the eye. 

“ You forget yourself, sir,” said the titular councillor, com- 
pletely flabbergasted, hardly able to feel the floor under his 
feet. “ I trust that you will take a different tone. . . .” 

“ My darling ! ” exclaimed Mr. Golyadkin junior, making a 

20 7 



rather unseemly grimace at Mr. Golyadkin senior, and suddenly 
quite unexpectedly, under the pretence of caressing him, he 
pinched his chubby cheek with two fingers. 

Our hero grew as hot as fire. ... As soon as Mr. Golyadkin 
junior noticed that his opponent, quivering in every limb 
speechless with rage, as red as a lobster, and exasperated beyond 
all endurance, might actually be driven to attack him, ne promptly 
and in the most shameless way hastened to be beforehand with 
his victim. Patting him two or three times on the cheek, tickling 
him two or three times, playing with him for a lew seconds in 
this way while his victim stood rigid and beside himself with 
fury to the no little diversion of the young men standing round, 
Mr. Golyadkin junior ended with a most revolting shamelessness 
by giving Mr. Golyadkin senior a poke in his rather prominent 
stomach, and with a most venomous and suggestive smile said to 
him : “ You’re mischievous, brother Yakov, you are mischievous ! 
We’ll be sly, you and I, Yakov Petrovitch, we’ll be sly.” 

Then, and before our hero could gradually come to himself 
after the last attack, Mr. Golyadkin junior (with a little smile 
beforehand to the spectators standing round) suddenly assumed 
a most businesslike, busy and official air, dropped his eyes to 
the floor and, drawing himself in, shrinking together, and pro- 
nouncing rapidly “on a special commission ” he cut a caper 
with his short leg, and darted away into the next room. Our 
hero could not believe his eyes and was still unable to pull 
himself together. . . . 

At last he roused himself. Recognizing in a flash that he was 
ruined, in' a sense annihilated, that he had disgraced himself 
and sullied his reputation, that he had been turned into ridicule 
and treated with contempt in the presence of spectators, that 
he had been treacherously insulted, by one whom he had looked 
on only the day before as his greatest and most trustworthy 
friend, that he had been put to utter confusion, Mr. Golyadkin 
senior rushed in pursuit of his enemy. At the moment he w6uld 
not even think of the witnesses of his ignominy. 

“They’re all in a conspiracy together,” he said to himself; 
“ they stand by each other and set each other on to attack me.” 
After taking a dozen steps, however, our hero perceived clearly 
that all pursuit would be vain and useless, and so he turned 
back. “ You won’t get away,” he thought, “ you will get caught 
one day; the wolf will have to pay for the sheep’s tears.” 

With ferocious composure and the most resolute determination 

208 



Mr. Golyadkin went up to his chair and sat down upon it. “ You 
won’t escape,” he said again. 

Now it was not a question of passive resistance : there was 
determination and pugnacity in the air, and any one who had seen 
how Mr. Golyadkin at that moment, flushed and scarcely able 
to restrain his excitement, stabbed his pen into the inkstand 
and with what fury he began scribbling on the paper, could be 
certain beforehand that the matter would not pass off like this, 
and could not end in a simple, womanish way. In the depth of 
his soul he formed a resolution, and in the depth of his heart 
swore to carry it out. To tell the truth he still did not quite 
know how to act, or rather did not know at all, but never mind, 
that did not matter ! 

“ Imposture and shamelessness do not pay nowadays, sir. 
Imposture and shamelessness, sir, lead to no good, but lead to 
the halter. Grishka Otrepyov was the only one, sir, who gained 
by imposture, deceiving the blind people and even that not for 
long.” < 

In spite of this last circumstance Mr. Golyadkin proposed to 
wait till such time as the mask should fall from certain persons 
and somethihg should be made manifest. For this it was 
necessary, in the first place, that office hours should be over as 
soon as possible, and till then our hero proposed to take no step. 
Then, when office hours were over, he would take one step. He 
knew then how he must act after taking that step, how to arrange 
liis whole plan of action, to abase the horn of arrogance and crush 
the snake gnawing the dust in contemptible impotence. To 
allow himself to be treated like a rag used for wiping dirty boots, 
Mr. Golyadkin could not. He could not consent to that, especially 
in the present case. Had it not been for that last insult, our 
hero might have, perhaps, brought himself to control his anger ; 
he might, perhaps, have been silent, have submitted and not 
have protested too obstinately; he would just have disputed a 
little, have made a slight complaint, have proved that he was in 
the right, then he would have given way a little, then, perhaps, 
he would have given way a little more, then he would have 
come round altogether, then, especially when the opposing 
party solemnly admitted that he was right, perhaps, he would 
have overlooked it completely, would even have been a little 
touched, there might even, perhaps — who could tell — spring up 
ft new, close, warm friendship, on an even broader basis than 
the friendship of last night, so that this friendship might, in 

p 

r 209 



the end. completely eclipse the unpleasantness of the rather 
unseemly resemblance of the two individuals, so that both the 
titular councillors might be highly delighted, and might go on 
living till they were a hundred, and so on. To tell the whole 
truth, Mr. Golyadkin began to regret a little that he had stood 
up for himself and his rights, and had at once come in for 
unpleasantness in consequence. 

“ Should he give in,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, “ say he was 
joking, I would forgive him. I would forgive him even more 
if he would acknowledge it aloud. But I won’t let myself be 
treated like a rag. And I have not allowed even persons very 
different from him to treat me so, still less will I permit a depraved 
person to attempt it. I am not a rag. I am not a rag, sir ! ” 

In short, our hero made up his mind “ You’re in fault yourself, 
sir 1 ” he thought. He made up his mind to protest, and to 
protest with all his might to the very last. That was the sort 
of man he was ! He could not consent to allow himself to be 
insulted, still less to allow himself to be treated as a rag, and, 
above all, to allow a thoroughly vicious man to treat him so. 
No quarrelling, however, no quarrelling ! Possibly if some one 
wanted, if some one, for instance, actually insisted on turning 
Mr. Golyadkin into a rag, he might have done so, might have 
done so without opposition or punishment (Mr. Golyadkin was 
himself conscious of this at times), and he would have been a 
rag and not Golyadkin — yes, a nasty, filthy rag ; but that rag 
would not have been a simple rag, it would have been a rag 
possessed of dignity, it would have been a rag possessed of 
feelings and sentiments, even though dignity was defenceless and 
feelings could not assert themselves, and lay hidden deep down 
in the filthy folds of the rag, still the feelings were there. . . 

The hours dragged on incredibly slowly ; at last it struck four. 
Soon after, all got up and, following the head of the depart- 
ment, moved each on his homeward way. Mr. Golyadkin 
mingled with the crowd ; he kept a vigilant look out, and did 
not lose sight of the man he wanted. At last our hero saw 
that his friend ran up to the office attendants who handed the 
clerks their overcoats, and hung about near them waiting for 
his in his usual nasty way. The minute was a decisive one. 
Mr. Golyadkin forced his way somehow through the crowd and, 
anxious not to be left behind, he, too, began fussing about his 
overcoat. But Mr. Golyadkin’s friend and companion was given 
his overcoat first because on this occasion, too, he had succeeded. 


210 



as he always did, in making up to them, whispering something to 
them, cringing upon them and getting round them. 

After putting on his overcoat, Mr. Golyadkin junior glanced 
ironically at Mr. Golyadkin senior, acting in this way openly 
and defiantly, looked about him with his characteristic insolence, 
finally he tripped to and fro among the other clerks — no doubt 
in order to leave a good impression on them — said a word to 
one, whispered something to another, respectfully accosted a 
third, directed a smile at a fourth, gave his hand to a fifth, and 
gaily darted downstairs. Mr. Golyadkin senior flew after hin\, 
and to his inexpressible delight overtook him on the last step, 
and seized him by the collar of his overcoat. It seemed as 
though Mr. Golyadkin junior was a little disconcerted, and he 
looked about him with a helpless air. 

“ What do you mean by this ? ” he whispered to Mr. Golyadkin 
at last, in a weak voice. 

“ Sir, if you are a gentleman, I trust that you remember our 
friendly relations yesterday,” said our hero. 

" Ah, yes ! Well ? Did you sleep well ? ” 

Fury rendered Mr. Golyadkin senior speechless tor a moment. 

“ I slept well, sir . . . but allow me to tell you, sir, that 
you are playing a very complicated game. . . .” 

“ Who says so ? My enemies say that,” answered abruptly 
the man who called himself Mr. Golyadkin, and saying this, he 
unexpectedly freed himself from the feeble hand of the real 
Mr. Golyadkin. As soon as he was free he rushed away from 
the stairs, looked around him, saw a cab, ran up to it, got in, 
and in one moment vanished from Mr. Golyadkin senior’s sight. 
The despairing titular councillor, abandoned by all, gazed about 
him, but there was no oth^r cab. He tried to run, but his legs 
gave way under him. With a look of open-mouthed astonishment 
on his countenance, feeling crushed and shrivelled up, he leaned 
helplessly against a lamp post, and remained so for some minutes 
in the middle of the pavement. It seemed as though all were 
over for Mr. Golyadkin. 


CHAPTER IX 

Everything, apparently, and even nature itself, seemed up 
in arms against Mr. Golyadkin ; hut he was still on Lis legs and 
unconquered; he felt that he was unconquered. He was ready 

211 



to struggle. He rubbed his hands with such feeling and such 
energy when he recovered from his first amazement that it could 
be deduced from his very air that he would riot give in. Yet the 
danger was imminent; it was evident; Mr. Golyadkin felt it; 
but how to grapple with it, with this danger? — that was the 
question. The thought even flashed through Mr. Golyadkin’s 
mind for a moment, “ After all, why not leave it so, simply give 
it up ? Why, what is it I Why, it’s nothing. Til keep apart 
as though it were not I,” thought Mr. Golyadkin. “ 1*11 let it 
all pass ; it’s not I, and that’s all about it ; he’s separate too, 
maybe he’ll give it up too; he’ll hang about, the rascal, he’ll 
hang about. He’ll come back and give it up again. That’s 
how it will be ! I’ll take it meekly. And, indeed, where is the 
danger ? Come, what danger is there ? I should like any one 
to tell me where the danger lies in this business. It is a trivial 
affair. An everyday affair. . . 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin’s tongue failed ; the words died 
away on his lips ; he even swore at himself for this thought ; he 
convicted himself on the spot of abjectness, of cowardice for 
having this thought; things were no forwarder, however. He 
felt that to make up his mind to some course of action was 
absolutely necessary for him at the moment ; he even felt that 
he would have given a great deal to any one who could have 
told him what he must decide to do. Yes, but how could he 
guess what ? Though, indeed, he had no time to guess. In 
any case, that he might lose no time he took a cab and dashed 
home. 

“ Well ? What are you feeling now ? ” he wondered ; “ what' 
are you graciously pleased to be thinking of, Yakov Petrovitch ? 
What are you doing ? What are you doing now, you rogue, 
you rascal ? You’ve brought yourself to this plight, and now 
you are weeping and whimpering ! ” 

So Mr. Golyadkin taunted himself as he jolted along in the 
vehicle. To taunt himself and so to irritate his wounds was, 
at this time, a great satisfaction to Mr. Golyadkin, almost a 
voluptuous enjoyment. 

“ Well,” he thought, " if some magician were to turn up 
now, or if it could come to pass in some official way and I 
were told : 4 Give a finger of your right hand, Golyadkin — 
and it’s a bargain with you; there shall not be the other 
Golyadkin, and you will be happy, only you won’t have your 
finger ’ — yes, I would sacrifice my finger, I would certainly 

212 



sacrifice it, I would sacrifice it without winking. . . . The devil 
take it all ! ” the despairing titular councillor cried at last. 
“ Why, what is it all for ? Well, it all had to be ; yes, it absolutely 
had to ; yes, just this had to be, as though nothing else were 
possible ! And it was all right at first. Every one was pleased 
and happy. But there, it had to be ! There's nothing to be 
gained by talking, though ; you must act.” 

And so, almost resolved upon some action, Mr. Golyadkin 
reached home, and without a moment's delay snatched up his 
pipe and, sucking at it with all his might and puffing out clouds 
of smoke to right and to left, he began pacing up and down 
the room in a state of violent excitement. Meanwhile, Petrushka 
began laying the table. At last Mr. Golyadkin made up his mind 
completely, flung aside his pipe, put on his overcoat, said he 
would not dine at home and ran out of the flat. Petrushka, 
panting, overtook him on the stairs, bringing the hat he had 
forgotten. Mr. Golyadkin took his hat, wanted to say something 
incidentally to justify himself in Petrushka’s eyes that the 
latter might not think anything particular, such as, “ What a 
queer circumstance ! here he forgot his hat — and so on,” but 
as Petrushka walked away at once and would not even look at 
him, Mr. Golyadkin put on his hat without further explanation, 
ran downstairs and repeating to himself that perhaps every- 
thing might be for the best, and that affairs would somehow be 
arranged, though he was conscious among other things of a cold 
chill right down to his heels, he went out into the street, took 
a cab and hastened to Andrey Filippo vitch’s. 

“ Would it not be better to-morrow, though ? ” thought Mr. 
Golyadkin, as he took hold of the bell-rope of Andrey Filippo- 
vitch's flat. “And, besides, what can I say in particular? 
There is nothing particular in it. It’s such a wretched affair, 
yes, it really is wretched, paltry, yes, that is, almost a paltry 
affair . . . yes, that’s what it all is, the incident. . . .” Sud- 
denly Mr. Golyadkin pulled at the bell ; the bell rang ; footsteps 
were heard within. . . . Mr. Golyadkin cursed himself on the 
spot for his hastiness and audacity. His recent unpleasant 
experiences, which he had almost; forgotten over his work, and 
his encounter with Andrey Filippovitch immediately came 
back into his mind. But by now it was too late to run away : 
the door opened. Luckily for Mr. Golyadkin he was informed 
that Andrey Filippovitch had not returned from the office and 
had not dined at home. 


213 



“ I know where he dines : he dines near the Ism&ilovaky 
Bridge,*’ thought our hero; and he was immensely relieved 
To the footman’s inquiry what message he would leave, he said : 
“ It’s all right, my good man, I’ll look in later,” and he even 
ran downstairs with a certain Cheerful briskness. Going out 
into the street, he decided to dismiss the cab and paid the driver. 
When the man asked for something extra, saying he had been 
waiting in the street and had not spared his horse for his honour, 
he gave him five kopecks extra, and even willingly; and then 
walked on. 

“ It really is such a thing,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, “ that 
it cannot be left like that ; though, if one looks at it that way, 
looks at it sensibly, why am I hurrying about here, in reality ? 
Well, yes, though, I will go on discussing why I should take a 
lot of trouble; why I should rush about, exert myself, worry 
myself and wear myself out. To begin with, the thing’s done 
and there’s no recalling it ... of course, there’s no recalling 
it ! Let us put it like this : a man turns up with a satisfactory 
reference, said to be a capable clerk, of good conduct, only he 
is a poor man and has suffered many reverses — all sorts of ups 
and downs — well, poverty is not a crime : so I must stand 
aside. Why, what nonsense it is ! Well, he came ; he is so 
made, the man is so made by nature itself that he is as like 
another man as though they were two drops of water, as though 
he were a perfect copy of another man ; how could they refuse 
to take him into the department on that account ? If it is fate, 
if it is only, fate, if it is only blind chance that is to blame — is 
he to be treated like a rag, is he to be refused a job in the office ? 

. . . Why, what would become of justice after that ? He is a poor 
man, hopeless, downcast ; it makes one’s heart ache : compassion 
bids one care for him ! Yes ! There’s no denying, there would be 
a fine set of head officials, if they took the same view as a repro- 
bate like me ! What an addlepate I am ! I have foolishness 
enough for a dozen ! Yes, yes ! They did right, and many thanks 
to them for being good to a poor, luckless fellow. . . . Why, let 
us imagine for a moment that we are twins, that we had been 
born twin brothers, and nothing else — there it is ! Well, what of 
it ? Why, nothing ! All the clerks can get used to it. . . . And 
an outsider, coming into our office, would certainly find nothing 
unseemly or offensive in the circumstance. In fact, there is 
really something touching in it ; to think that the divine 
Providence created two men exactly alike, and the heads of the 

214 



department, seeing the divine handiwork, provided for two 
twins. It would, of course,” Mr. Golyadkin went on, drawing 
a breath and dropping his voice, “ it would, of course ... it 
would, of course, have been better if there had been ... if there 
had been nothing of this touching kindness, and if there had 
been no twins cither. . . . The devil take it all ! And what 
need was there for it ? And what was the particular necessity 
that admitted of no delay ! My goodness ! The devil has made 
a mess of it ! Besides, he has such a character, too, he’s of such 
a playful, horrid disposition — he’s such a scoundrel, he’s such 
a nimble fellow ! He’s such a toady ! Such a lickspittle ! 
He’s such a Golyadkin ! I daresay he will misconduct himself; 
yes, he’ll disgrace my name, the blackguard ! And now I have 
to look after him and wait upon him ! What an infliction ! 
But, after all, what of it ? It doesn’t matter. Granted, he’s a 
scoundrel, well, let him be a scoundrel, but to make up for it, 
the other one’s honest; so he will be a scoundrel and I'll be 
honest, and they’ll say that this Golyadkin s a rascal, don’t 
take any notice of him, and don’t mix him up with the other ; 
but the other one’s honest, virtuous, mild, free from malice, 
always to be relied upon in the service, and worthy of promotion ; 
that’s how it is, very good . . . but what if . . . what if they 
get us mixed up ! ... He is equal to anything ! Ah, Lord, have 
mercy upon us ! ... He will counterfeit a man, he will counter- 
feit him, the rascal — he will change one man for another as 
though he were a rag, and not reflect that a man is not a rag. 
Ach, mercy on us ! Ough, what a calamity ! ” . . . 

Reflecting and lamenting in this way, Mr. Golyadkin ran on, 
regardless of where he was going. He came to his senses in 
Nevsky Prospect, only owing to the chance that he ran so 
neatly full-tilt into a passer-by that he saw stars in his eyes. 
Mr. Golyadkin muttered his excuses without raising his head, 
and it was only after the passer-by, muttering something far 
from flattering, had walked a considerable distance away, that 
he raised his nose and looked about to see where he was and 
how he had got there. Noticing when he did so that he was 
close to the restaurant in which he had sat for a while before 
the dinner-party at Olsufy Ivanovitch’s, our hero was suddenly 
conscious of a pinching and nipping sensation in his stomach; 
he remembered that he had not dined; he had no prospect 
•of a dinner-party anywhere. And so, without losing precious 
time, he ran upstairs into the restaurant to have a snack of 

215 



something as quickly as possible, and to avoid delay by making 
all the haste he could. And though everything in the restaurant 
was rather dear, that little circumstance did not on this occasion 
make Mr. Golyadkin pause, and, indeed, he had no time to 
pause over such a trifle. In the brightly lighted room the 
customers were standing in rather a crowd round the counter 
upon which lay heaps of all sorts of such edibles as are eaten 
by well-bred persons at lunch. The waiter scarcely had time to 
fill glasses, to serve, to take money and give change. Mr. 
Golyadkin waited for his turn and modestly stretched out his 
hand for a savoury patty. Retreating into a comer, turning 
his back on the company and eating with appetite, he went back 
to the attendant, put down his plate and, knowing the price, 
took out a ten-kopeck piece and laid the coin on the counter, 
catching the waiter’s eye as though to say, “ Look, here’s the 
money, one pie,” and so on. 

“ One rouble ten kopecks is your bill,” the waiter filtered 
through his teeth. 

Mr. Golyadkin was a good deal surprised. 

“ You are speaking to me ? ... I ... I took one pie, I 
believe.” 

“ You’ve had eleven,” the man retorted confidently. 

“ You ... so it seems to me ... I believe, you’re mis- 
taken. ... I really took only one pie, I think.” 

“ I counted them ; you took eleven. Since you’ve had them 
you must pay for them; we don’t give anything away for 
nothing.” 

Mr. GoTyadkin was petrified. “ What sorcery is this, what is 
happening to me ? ” he wondered. Meanwhile, the man waited 
for Mr. Golyadkin to make up his mind ; people crowded round 
Mr. Golyadkin ; he was already feeling in his pocket for a silver 
rouble, to pay the full amount at once, to avoid further trouble. 
“ Well, if it was eleven, it was eleven,” he thought, turning as 
red as a lobster. “ Why, what does it matter if eleven pies 
have been eaten ? Why, a man’s hungry, so he eats eleven pies ; 
well, let him eat, and may it do him good ; and there’s nothing 
to wonder at in that, and there’s nothing to laugh at. . . 

At that moment something seemed to stab Mr. Golyadkin. 
He raised his eyes and — at once he guessed the riddle. He 
knew what the sorcery was. All his difficulties were solved. . . . 

In the doorway of the next room, almost directly behind the 
waiter and facing Mr* Golyadkin, in the doorway which, till 

216 



that moment, our hero hod taken for a looking-glass, a man was 
standing — he was standing, Mr. Golyadkin was standing — not 
the original Mr. Golyadkin, the hero of our story, but the other 
Mr. Golyadkin, the new Mr. Golyadkin. The second Mr. 
Golyadkin was apparently in excellent spirits. He smiled to 
Mr. Golyadkin the first, nodded to him, winked, shuffled his feet 
a little, and looked as though in another minute he would vanish, 
would disappear into the next room, and then go out, maybe, 
by a back way out ; and there it would be, and all pursuit would 
be in vain. In his hand he had the last morsel of the tenth 
pie, and before Mr. Golyadkin’s very eyes he popped it into his 
mouth and smacked his lips. 

“ He has impersonated me, the scoundrel ! ” thought Mr. 
Golyadkin, flushing hot with shame. “He is not ashamed of 
the publicity of it ! Do they see him ? I fancy no one notices 
him. 

Mr. Golyadkin threw down his rouble as though it burnt his 
fingers, and without noticing the waiter’s insolently significant 
grin, a smile of triumph and serene power, he extricated himself 
from the crowd, and rushed away without looking round. “ We 
must be thankful that at least he has not completely com- 
promised any one ! ” thought Mr. Golyadkin senior. “ We 
must be thankful to him, the brigand, and to fate, that every- 
thing was satisfactorily settled. The waiter was rude, that was 
all. But, after all, he was in the right. One rouble and ten 
kopecks were owing : so he was in the right. ‘ We don’t give 
things away for nothing,’ he said ! Though he might have been 
more polite, the rascal . . .” 

All this Mr. Golyadkin said to himself as he went downstairs 
to the entrance, but on the last step he stopped suddenly, as 
though he had been shot, and suddenly flushed till the tears 
came into his eyes at the insult to his dignity. After standing 
stockstill for half a minute, he stamped his foot resolutely, 
at one bound leapt from the step into the street and, without 
looking round, rushed breathless and unconscious of fatigue 
back home to his flat in Shestilavotchny Street. When he got 
home, without changing his coat, though it was his habit to 
change into an old coat at home, without even stopping to take 
his pipe, he sat down on the sofa, drew the inkstand towards him, 
took up a pen, got a sheet of notepaper, and with a hand that 
trembled from inward excitement, began scribbling the following 
epistle* 


217 



“Dear Sir Yakov Petrovitch ! 

“ I should not take up my pen if my circumstances, 
and your own action, sir, had not compelled me to that step. 
Believe me that nothing but necessity would have induced me 
to enter upon such a discussion with you and therefore, first 
of all, I beg you, sir, to look upon this step of mine not as 
a premeditated design to insult you, but as the inevitable 
consequence of the circumstance that is a bond between us 
now.” 

(“ I think that’s all right, proper, courteous, though not 
lacking in force and firmness. ... I don’t think there is any- 
thing for him to take offence at. Besides, I’m fully within 
my rights,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, reading over what he had 
written.) 

“ Your strange and sudden appearance, sir, on a stormy night, 
after the coarse and unseemly behaviour of my enemies to me, 
for whom I feel too much contempt even to mention their names, 
was the starting-point of all the misunderstanding existing 
between us at the present time. Your obstinate desire to 
persist in your course of action, sir, and forcibly to enter the 
circle of my existence and all my relations in practical life, 
transgresses every limit imposed by the merest politeness and 
every rule of civilized society. I imagine there is no need, sir, 
for me to refer to the seizure by you of my papers, and particularly 
to your taking away my good name, in order to gain the favour 
of my superiors — favour you have not deserved. There is no 
need to refer here either to your intentional and insulting refusal 
of the necessary explanation in regard to us. Finally, to omit 
nothing, I will not allude here to your last strange, one may even 
say, your incomprehensible behaviour to me in the coffee-house. 
I am far from lamenting over the needless — for me — loss of a 
rouble; but T cannot help expressing my indignation at the 
recollection of your public outrage upon me, to the detriment 
of my honour, and what is more, in the presence of several 
persons of good breeding, though not belonging to my circle of 
acquaintance.” 

(“ Am I not going too far ? ” thought Mr. Golyadkin. “ Isn’t 
it too much ; won’t it be too insulting — that taunt about good 
breeding, for instance ? . . . But there, it doesn’t matter ! I 
must show him the resoluteness of my character. I might, 
however, to soften him, flatter him, and butter him up at the 
end. But there, we shall see.”) 

218 



99 But I should not weary you with my letter, sir, if I were not 
firmly convinced that the nobility of your sentiments and your 
open, candid character would suggest to you yourself a means 
for retrieving all lapses and returning everything to its original 
position. 

“ With full confidence I venture to rest assured that you will 
not take my letter in a sense derogatory to yourself, and at 
the same time that you will not refuse to explain yourself 
expressly on this occasion by letter, sending the same by my 
man. 

“ In expectation of your reply, I have the honour, dear sir, 
to remain, 

99 Your humble servant, 

99 Y. Golyadkin.” 

“ Well, that is quite all right. The thing’s done, it has come 
to letter-writing. But who is to blame for that ? He is to blame 
himself : by his own action he reduces a man to the necessity 
of resorting to epistolary composition. And I am within my 
rights. . . .” 

Reading over his letter for the last time, Mr. Golyadkin folded 
it up, sealed it and called Petrushka. Petrushka came in 
looking, as usual, sleepy and cross about something. 

“ You will take this letter, my boy ... do you understand ? ” 

Petrushka did not speak. 

“ You will take it to the department ; there you must find the 
secretary on duty, Vahramyev. He is the one on duty to-day. 
Do you understand that ? ” 

“ I understand.” 

“ 9 1 understand 9 ! He can’t even say, 9 1 understand, sir ! * 
You must ask for the secretary, Vahramyev, and tell him that 
your master desired you to send his regards, and humbly requests 
him to refer to the address book of our office and find out 
where the titular councillor, Golyadkin, is living ? ” 

Petrushka remained mute, and, as Mr. Golyadkin fancied, 
smiled. 

“ Well, so you see, Pyotr, you have to ask him for the address, 
and find out where the new clerk, Golyadkin, lives.” 

“ Yes.” 

“ You must ask for the address and then take this letter 
there. Do you understand ] ” 

“ I understand.” 


219 



“If there . . . where you have to take the letter, that 
gentleman to whom you have to give the letter, that Golyad- 
kin . . . What are you laughing at, you blockhead ? ” 

“ What is there to laugh at ? What is it to me ! I wasn’t 
doing anything, sir. It’s not for the likes of us to laugh. . . 

“ Oh, well ... if that gentleman should ask, 4 How is your 
master, how is he * ; if he . . . well, if he should ask you any- 
thing — you hold your tongue, and answer, 4 My master is all 
right, and begs you for an answer to his letter.’ Do you under- 
stand? ” 

“ Yes, sir.” 

“ Well, then, say, 4 My master is all right and quite well,’ say, 
4 and is just getting ready to pay a call : and he asks you,’ Bay, 
4 for an answer in writing.* Do you understand ? ” 

“ Yes.” 

44 Well, go along, then.” 

“ Why, what a bother I have with this blockhead too ! He’a 
laughing, and there’s nothing to be done. What’s he laughing 
at ? I’ve lived to see trouble. Here I’ve lived like this to see 
trouble. Though perhaps it may all turn out for the best. . . . 
That rascal will be loitering about for the next two hours now, 
I expect ; he’ll go off somewhere else. . . . There’s no sending 
him anywhere. What a misery it is ! . . . What misery has 
come upon me!” 

Feeling his troubles to the full, our hero made up his mind to 
remain passive for two hours till Petrushka returned. For an 
hour of t£e time he walked about the room, smoked, then put 
aside his pipe and sat dow n to a book, then he lay down on the 
sofa, then took up his pipe again, then again began running 
about the room. He tried to think things over but was absolutely 
unable to think about anything. At last the agony of remaining 
passive reached the climax and Mr. Golyadkin made up his mind 
to take a step. 44 Petrushka will come in another hour,” he 
thought. 4 4 1 can give the key to the porter, and I myself can, so 
to speak ... I can investigate the matter ; I shall investigate 
the matter in my own way.” 

Without loss of time, in haste to investigate the matter, 
Mr. Golyadkin took his hat, went out of the room, locked up 
his flat, went in to the porter, gave him the key, together with 
ten kopecks — Mr. Golyadkin had become extraordinarily free- 
handed of late — and rushed off. Mr. Golyadkin went first on 
foot to the Ismailovsky Bridge. It took him half an hour to 

220 



get there. When he reached the goal of his journey he went 
straight into the yard of the house so familiar to him, and glanced 
up at the windows of the civil councillor Berendyev’s flat. 
Except for three windows hung with red curtains all the rest 
was dark. 

“ Olsufy Ivanovitch has no visitors to-day,” thought Mr. 
Golyadkin ; “ they must all be staying at home to-day.” 

After standing for some time in the yard, our hero tried to 
decide on some course of action. But he was apparently not 
destined to reach a decision. Mr. Golyadkin changed his mind, 
and with a wave of his hand went back into the Btreet. 

“ No, there’s no need for me to go to-day. What could I do 
here? . . . No, I’d better, so to speak ... I’ll investigate 
the matter personally.” 

Coming to this conclusion, Mr. Golyadkin rushed off to his 
office. He had a long way to go. It was horribly muddy, 
besides, and the wet snow lay about in thick drifts. But it 
seemed as though difficulty did not exist for our hero at the 
moment. He was drenched through, it is true, and he was a 
good deal spattered with mud. 

“ But that’s no matter, so long as the object is obtained.” 

And Mr. Golyadkin certainly was nearing his goal. The dark 
mass of the huge government building stood up black before his 
eyes. 

“Stay,” he thought; “where am I going, and what am I 
going to do here ? Suppose I do find out where he lives ? 
Meanwhile, Petrushka will certainly have come back and brought 
me the answer. I am only wasting my precious time, I am simply 
wasting my time. Though shouldn’t I, perhaps, go in and see 
Vahramyev ? But, no, I’ll go later. . . . Ech ! There was no 
need to have gone out at all. But, there, it’s my temperament ! 
I’ve a knack of always seizing a chance of rushing ahead of things, 
whether there is a need to or not. . . . H’m ! . . . what time 
is it ? It must be nine by now. Petrushka might come and 
not find me at home. It was pure folly on my part to go out. . . 
Ech, it is really a nuisance ! ” 

Sincerely acknowledging that he had been guilty of an act of 
folly, our hero ran back to Shestilavotchny Street. He arrived 
there, weary and exhausted. From the porter he learned that 
Petrushka had not dreamed of turning up yet. 

“ To be sure ! I foresaw it would be so,” thought our hero; 
and meanwhile it’s nine o’clock. Ech, he’s such a good-for- 


221 



nothing chap ! He's always drinking somewhere ! Mercy on 
us ! What a day has fallen to my miserable lot ! ” 

Reflecting in this way, Mr. Golyadkin unlocked his flat, got a 
light, took off his outdoor things, lighted his pipe and, tired , 
worn-out, exhausted and hungry, lay down on the sofa and 
waited for Petrushka. The candle burnt dimly; the light 
flickered on the wall. . . . Mr. Golyadkin gazed and gazed, and 
thought and thought, and fell asleep at last, worn out. 

It was late when he woke up. The candle had almost burnt 
down, was smoking and on the point of going out. Mr. Golyadkin 
jumped up, shook himself, and remembered it all, absolutely 
all. Behind the screen he heard Petrushka snoring lustily, 
Mr. Golyadkin rushed to the window — not a light anywhere. 
He opened the movable pane — all was still ; the city was asleep 
as though it were dead : so it must have been two or three o*clock ; 
so it proved to be, indeed ; the clock behind the partition made 
an effort and struck two. Mr. Golyadkin rushed behind the 
partition. 

He succeeded, somehow, though only after great exertions, 
in rousing Petrushka, and making him sit up in his bed. At 
that moment the candle went out completely. About ten 
minutes passed before Mr. Golyadkin succeeded in finding another 
candle and lighting it. In the interval Petrushka had fallen 
asleep again. 

“ You scoundrel, you worthless fellow ! ” said Mr. Golyadkin, 
shaking him up again. “ Will you get up, will you wake ? ” 
After half an hour of effort Mr. Golyadkin succeeded, however, 
in rousing his servant thoroughly, and dragging him out from 
behind the partition. Only then, our hero remarked the fact 
that Petrushka was what is called dead-drunk and could hardly 
stand on his legs. 

“ You good-for-nothing fellow ! ” cried Mr. Golyadkin; “ you 
ruffian ! You’ll be the death of me ! Good heavens ! whatever 
has he done with the letter ? Ach, my God ! where is it ? . . . 
And why did I write it ? As though there were any need for 
me to have written it ! I went scribbling away out of pride, 
like a noodle ! I've got myself into this fix out of pride ! That 
is what dignity does for you, you rascal, that is dignity ! . . . 
Come, what have you done with the letter, you ruffian? To 
whom did you give it ? " 

“ I didn’t give any one any letter ; and I never had any 
letter ... so there ! " 


222 



Mr. Golyadkin wrung his hands in despair. 

“ Listen, Pyotr . . . listen to me, listen to me. . . 

“ I am listening. . . .” 

“ Where have you been ? — answer . . 

“ Where have I been. . . . I’ve been to see good people ! 
What is it to me ! ” 

“ Oh, Lord, have mercy on us ! Where did you go, to begin 
with? Did you go to the department? . . . Listen, Pyotr, 
perhaps you’re drunk ? ” 

“ Me drunk ! If I should be struck on the spot this minute, 
not a drop, not a drop — so there. ...” 

“ No, no, it’s no matter you’re being drunk. ... I only 
asked ; it’s all right your being drunk ; I don’t mind, Petrushka, 
I don’t mind. . . . Perhaps it’s only that you have forgotten, 
but you’ll remember it all. Come, try to remember — have you 
been to that clerk’s, to Vahramyev’s ; have you been to him 
or not ? ” 

“ I have not been, and there’s no such clerk. Not if I were 
this minute ...” 

“ No, no, Pyotr ! No, Petrushka, you know I don’t mind. 
Why, you see I don’t mind. , . . Come, what happened? To 
be sure, it’s cold and damp in the street, and so a man has a drop, 
and it’s no matter. I am not angry. I’ve been drinking 
myself to-day, my boy. . . . Come, think and try and remember, 
did you go to Vahramyev ? ” 

“ Well, then, now, this is how it was, it’s the truth — I did go, 
if this very minute . . 

“ Come, that is right, Petrushka, that is quite right that 
you’ve been. You see I’m not angry. . . . Come, come,” 
our hero went on, coaxing his servant more and more, patting 
him on the shoulder and smiling to him, “ come, you had a 
little nip, you scoundrel. ... You had two -penn’orth of some- 
thing, I suppose ? You’re a sly rogue ! Well, that’s no matter ; 
come, you see that I’m not angry. . . . I’m not angry, my 
boy, I’m not angry. . . .” 

“ No, I’m not a sly rogue, say what you like. ... I only 
went to see some good friends. I’m not a rogue, and I never 
have been a rogue. . . .” 

” Oh, no, no, Petrushka ; listen, Petrushka, you know I’m 
not scolding when I called you a rogue. I said that in fun, I 
■said it in a good sense. You see, Petrushka, it is sometimes a 
compliment to a man when you call him a rogue, a cunning 

223 



fellow, that he’s a sharp chap and would not let any one take 
him in. Some men like it. . . . Come, come, it doesn’t matter ! 
Come, tell me, Petrushka, without keeping anything back, 
openly, as to a friend . . . did you go to Vahramyev’s, and did 
he give you the address ? ” 

“ He did give me the address, he did give me the address too. 
He’s a nice gentleman ! 4 Your master,’ says he, 4 is a nice man/ 

says he, 4 very nice man ; * says he, 4 1 send my regards,* says he, 
4 to your master, thank him and say that I like him,* says he— 
4 how I do respect your master,* says he. 4 Because,’ says he, 
4 your master, Petrushka,’ says he, 4 is a good man, and you/ 
says he, 4 Petrushka, are a good man too. . . ” 

44 Ah, mercy on us ! But the address, the address ! You 
Judas ! ” The last word Mr. Golyadkin uttered almost in a 
whisper. 

44 And the address ... he did give the address too.” 

44 He did ? Well, where does Golyadkin, the clerk Golyadkin, 
the titular councillor, live ? ” 

44 4 Why,* says he, 4 Golyadkin will be nc v at Shestilavotchny 
Street. When you get into Shestilavotchny Street take the 
stairs on the right and it’s the fourth floor. And there,’ says he, 
4 you’ll find Golyadkin. . . .” 

44 You scoundrel ! ” our hero cried, out of patience at last. 
44 You’re a ruffian ! Why, that’s my address ; why, you are 
talking about me. But there’s another Golyadkin ; I’m talking 
of the other one, you scoundrel ! ” 

44 Well,- that’s as you please ! What is it to me? Have it 
your own way. . . .” 

44 And the letter, the letter ? ” . . . 

44 What letter ? There wasn’t any letter, and I didn’t see any 
letter.” 

44 But what have you done with it, you rascal ? ” 

44 1 delivered the letter, I delivered it. He sent his regards. 
4 Thank you,’ says he, 4 your master’s a nice man,* says he. 
4 Give my regards,’ says he, 4 to your master. . . .* ” 

44 But who said that ? Was it Golyadkin said it ? ” 

Petrushka said nothing for a moment, and then, with a broad 
grin, he stared straight into his master’s face. . . . 

44 Listen, you scoundrel ! *’ began Mr. Golyadkin, breathless, 
beside himself with fury ; 44 listen, you rascal, what have you done 
to me ? Tell me what you’ve done to me ! You’ve destroyed me, 
you villain, you’ve cut the head off my shoulders, you Judas! ” 

224 



“ Well, have it your own way ! I don't care,” said Petrushka 
in a resolute voioe, retreating behind the screen. 

“ Come here, come here, you ruffian. . . 

“ I'm not coming to you now, I’m not coming at all. What 
do I care, I’m going to good folks. . . . Good folks live 
honestly, good folks live without falsity, and they never have 
doubles. . . .” 

Mr. Golyadkin’s hands and feet went icy cold, his breath 
failed him. . . . 

“ Yes,” Petrushka went on, “ they never have doubles. God 
doesn’t afflict honest folk. . . 

“ You worthless fellow, you are drunk ! Go to sleep now, 
you ruffian ! And to-morrow you’ll catch it,” Mr. Golyadkin 
added in a voice hardly audible. As for Petrushka, he muttered 
something more; then he could be heard getting into bed, 
making the bed creak. After a prolonged yawn, he stretched; 
and at last began snoring, and slept the sleep of the just, as they 
say. Mr. Golyadkin was more dead than alive. Petrushka’s 
behaviour, his very strange hints, which were yet so remote 
that it was useless to be angry at them, especially as they were 
uttered by a drunken man, and, in short, the sinister turn taken 
by the affair altogether, all this shook Mr. Golyadkin to the 
depths of his being. 

“ And what possessed me to go for him in the middle of the 
night ? ” said our hero, trembling all over from a sickly sensa- 
tion. “ What the devil made me have anything to do with a 
drunken man ! What could I expect from a drunken man ? 
Whatever he says is a lie. But what was he hinting at, the 
ruffian ? Lord, have mercy on us \ And why did I write all 
that letter ? I'm my own enemy, I’m my own murderer ! As 
if I couldn’t hold my tongue ? I had to go scribbling nonsense ! 
And what now ! You are going to ruin, you are like an old rag, 
and yet you worry about your pride ; you say, 4 my honour is 
wounded,’ you must stick up for your honour ! My own 
murderer, that is Vhat I am ! ” 

Thus spoke Mr. Golyadkin and hardly dared to stir for terror. 
At last his eyes fastened upon an object which excited his interest 
to tV itmost. In terror lest the object that caught his attention 
Bhouid prove to be an illusion, a deception of his fancy, he 
stretched out his hand to it with hope, with dread, with in- 
describable curiosity. . . . No, it was not a deception ! Not a 
delusion ! It was a letter, really a letter, undoubtedly a letter, 

Q 225 



214 


ments at government expense, and his administration saw Congress appro- 
priate four times as much for roads, rivers, and harbors as the amount 
expended under his predecessor. But in 1830 he vetoed a bill authorizing 
a federal subscription to the stock of the Maysville and Lexington (Kentucky) 
turnpike on the constitutional grounds that the project was entirely within 
the boundaries of a single state. The chief significance of this veto was that 
it came in a period when the steam railway was being introduced into the 
United States. Since 1828 several lines had begun to use the locomotive for 
short distances. Jackson’s veto temporarily put a halt to federal participation 
in intrastate transportation projects. As a result, for the first decades of the 
railroad era, while lines were still relatively short and seldom crossed state 
boundaries, it fell to private capital, often foreign investors, to finance the 
new American railroads— in contrast with the usual European practice, and 
probably contrary to Jackson's preferences. 

Jackson’s dislike of big bankers 
The Second Bank , . . . . 

became the central issue m the 
and the election of 1832 f , 01 . T . 

campaign of 1832. The question 

arose in connection with the rechartering of the Second Bank of the United 
States. The bank’s advocates regarded it as the kingpin in a system of sound 
and stable currency; its opponents attacked it as an evil money monopoly. 
A bill to recharter the bank was passed by both houses, only to be vetoed 
by Jackson with vehemence. He denounced the bank as unconstitutional 
and as placing too great power in private hands, particularly the hands of 
eastern and foreign capitalists. 

The campaign of 1832 marked the end of the system whereby the nomi- 
nation of candidates for president was controlled by a small group of 
politicians. Hitherto presidential candidates had been chosen by the party’s 
leaders assembled as a “Congressional caucus.” An ephemeral third party, 
the Anti-Masons, which owed its origin to a sudden flurry of hostility to 
secret societies, had no representatives in Congress to form a caucus. So the 
Anti-Masonic Party gathered in Baltimore in 1831 and became the first 
national party to nominate a presidential candidate directly. The National 
Republicans thereupon held a similar convention, where they chose Clay, 
while the Democrats, also assembled in convention, pinned their hopes on 
Jackson. Ever since then, national parties have chosen their candidates for 
president and vice-president by means of a national nominating convention. 

The outcome of the election of 1832 was an overwhelming personal 
victory for Jackson. The president, believing that he had received full public 
endorsement in his fight agaiilst the Second Bank of the United States, 
intensified his attack. The bank had four years to run before its charter 
expired, but Jackson hastened its doom as a federal institution by ordering 
the secretary of the treasury to cease using the bank or its branches as a 
depository for federal funds and to draw out those funds which had been 



already deposited. The administration now turned over the funds for deposit 
to twenty-three state banks-institutions whose political leanings were so 
agreeable. to Jackson that they became known as “pet banks.” 

jackson’s foreign policy cen- 

e ispute tered around his successful effort 

with France over spoliations t 4 , 

to collect reparations for the 

damage done to American ships and sailors during the Napoleonic wars. He 
made satisfactory agreements in that regard with Denmark, Naples, and 
Spain. But one with France ran into tragicomic ramifications. When King 
Louis Philippe asked his Chamber of Deputies to appropriate ihe agreed 
sum of $5,000,000, some deputies, doubting the wisdom of the bargain, 
managed to block the appropriation. Hints in Jackson’s speeches and pres- 
sure from the American minister in France did no good, and in 1834 Jackson 
made the French repudiation of its “solemn treaties” a major issue in his 
message to Congress. Sensitive of their country’s honor, the French deputies 
thereupon voted the $5,000,000 in dispute but demanded an apology before 
any of it should be paid. Public pressure even obliged the king to send French 
naval vessels to the American coast, to dismiss the American minister, and 
to recall his own. Jackson, for his part, insisted that his messages to Congress 
were no legitimate concern of a foreign government and called for war 
measures. Fortunately, the English minister in Washington stepped in to 
mediate between the recriminating governments, and Jackson in his next 
message to Congress explained that he had had no “intention to menace 
or insult the government of France,’* and that it would be “vain and ridic- 
ulous” to expect “to extort from the fears of that nation what her sense of 
justice may deny.” The honor of France was thus satisfied, and the deputies 
not only approved the $5,000,000 in spoliations claims but added to it the 
interest on those installments that had not been paid when they had fallen 
due. Louis Philippe thus redeemed his great popularity in the United States, 
and was to lose it only toward the close of his reign. 

a phenomenai. prospe rity mush- 
/nflation roomed suddenly during the final 

and the "boom" of 1835-1836 . T , . 

' years ot Jackson s second term. 

This prosperity was based largely on heavy investment, sometimes of a specu- 
lative nature. State governments and private capitalists, often foreign, under- 
took new projects: canals, railroads, and turnpikes. Land speculation hit a 
1 new high during 1835 and 1836, and confident Americans eagerly paid in- 
flated prices to acquire farm lands and town property in the new West. State 
banks, relieved of the restraining influence of the Bank of the United States, 
engaged in a rapid expansion of credit, freely lending paper bank notes 
backed by little more than an abounding optimism. American exports and 
imports rose conspicuously between 1830 and 1836, and Europeans lent 
money and made heavy investments in America. As a result of this sudden 


213 



But as soon as he tried to stand up he fell back again at once, 
weak and helpless. “ Yes, of course, I had a presentiment of 
all that ; how he writes though, and what is the real meaning 
of his words. Supposing I do understand the meaning; but 
what is it leading to ? He should have said straight out : this 
and that is wanted, and I would have done it. Things have 
taken such a turn, things have come to such an unpleasant pass ! 
Oh, if only to-morrow would make haste and come, and I could 
make haste and get to work ! I know now what to do. I 
shall say this and that, I shall agree with his arguments, I won’t 
sell my honour, but . . . maybe ; but he, that person we know 
of, that disagreeable person, how does he come to be mixed 
up in it ? And why has he turned up here ? Oh, if to-morrow 
would make haste and come ! They’ll slander me before then, 
they are intriguing, they are working to spite me ! The great 
thing is not to lose time, and now, for instance, to write a letter, 
and to say this and that and that I agree to this and that. And 
as Boon as it is daylight to-morrow send it off, before he can 
do anything . , . and so checkmate them, get in before them, 
the darlings. . . . They will ruin me by their slanders, and 
that’s the fact of the matter ! ” 

Mr. Golyadkin drew the paper to him, took up a pen and wrote 
the following missive in answer to the secretary’s letter — 

“ Dear Sir Nestor Ignatyevitch ! 

“ With amazement mingled with heartfelt distress I 
have perused your insulting letter to me, for I see clearly that you 
are referring to me when you speak of certain discreditable 
persons and false friends. I see with genuine sorrow how rapidly 
the calumny has spread and how deeply it has taken root, to 
the detriment of my prosperity, my honour and my good name. 
And this is the more distressing and mortifying that even 
honest people of a genuinely noble way of thinking and, what is 
even more important, of straightforward and open dispositions, 
abandon the interests of honourable men and with all the qualities 
of their hearts attach themselves to the pernicious corruption, 
which in our difficult and immoral age has unhappily increased 
and multiplied so greatly and so disloyally. In conclusion, I 
will say that the debt of two roubles of which you remind me 
I regard as a sacred duty to return to you in its entirety. 

“ As for your hints concerning a certain person of the female 
sex, concerning the intentions, calculations and various designs 

228 



of that person, I can ODly tell you, sir, that I have but a very dim 
and obscure understanding of those insinuations. Permit me, 
sir, to preserve my honourable way of thinking and my good 
name undefiled, in any case. I am ready to stoop to an explana- 
tion in person, preferring a personal interview to a written ex- 
planation as more secure, and I am, moreover, ready to enter into 
conciliatory proposals on mutual terms, of course. To that end 
I beg you, my dear sir, to convey to that person my readiness for 
a personal arrangement and, what is more, to beg her to fix the 
time and place of the interview. It grieved me, sir, to read your 
hints of my having insulted you, having been treacherous to 
our original friendship and having spoken ill of you. I ascribe 
this misunderstanding to the abominable calumny, envy and 
ill-will of those whom I may justly stigmatize as my bitterest 
foes. But I suppose they do not know that innocence is strong 
through its very innocence, that the shamelessness, the insolence 
and the revolting familiarity of some persons, sooner or later 
gains the stigma of universal contempt ; and that such persons 
come to ruin through nothing but their own worthlessness and 
the corruption of their own hearts. In conclusion, I beg you, sir, 
to convey to those persons that their strange pretensions and 
their dishonourable and fantastic desire to squeeze others out 
of the position which those others occupy, by their very existence 
in this world, and to take their place, are deserving of contempt, 
amazement, compassion and, what is more, the madhouse; 
moreover, such efforts are severely prohibited by law, which in 
my opinion is perfectly just, for every one ought to be satisfied 
with his own position. Every one has his fixed position, and 
if this is a joke it is a joke in very bad taste. I will say more : 
it is utterly immoral, for, I make bold to assure you, sir, my own 
views which I have expounded above, in regard to keeping one's 
own place , are purely moral. 

“ In any case I have the honour to remain, 

“ Your humble servant, 

“ Y. Golyadkin.” 


CHAPTER X 

Altogether, we may say, the adventures of the previous day 
had thoroughly unnerved Mr. Golyadkin. Our hero passed a 
very bad night; that is, he did not get thoroughly off to sleep 

229 



for five minutes : as though some practical joker had scattered 
bristles in his bed. He spent the whole night in a sort of half- 
sleeping state, tossing from side to side, from right to left, moan- 
ing and groaning, dozing off for a moment, waking up again a 
minute later, and all was accompanied by a strange misery, 
vague memories, hideous visions — in fact, everything disagreeable 
that can be imagined. . . . 

At one moment the figure of Audrey Filippovitch appeared 
before him in a strange, mysterious half-light. It was a frigid, 
wrathful figure, with a cold, harsh eye and with stiffly polite 
words of blame on its Ups . . . and as soon as Mr. Golyadkin 
began going up to Andrey Filippovitch to defend himself in 
some way and to prove to him that he was not at all such as 
his enemies represented him, that he was Uke this and like that, 
that he even possessed innate virtues of his own, superior to the 
average — at once a person only too weU known for his discredit- 
able behaviour appeared on the scene, and by some most 
revolting means instantly frustrated poor Mr. Golyadkin’s efforts, 
on the spot, almost before the latter’s eyes, blackened his reputa- 
tion, trampled his dignity in the mud, and then immediately 
took possession of his place in the service and in society. 

At another time Mr. Golyadkin’s head felt sore from some 
sort of shght blow of late conferred and humbly accepted, 
received either in the course of daily life or somehow in the 
performance of his duty, against which blow it was difficult to 
protest. . . „ And while Mr. Golyadkin was racking his brains 
over the question why it was so difficult to protest even against 
such a blow, this idea of a blow gradually melted away into a 
different form — into the form of some familiar, trifling, or rather 
important piece of nastiness which he had seen, heard, or even 
himself committed — and frequently committed, indeed, and not 
on nasty grounds, not from any nasty impulse, even, but just 
because it happened — sometimes, for instance, out of delicacy, 
another time owing to his absolute defencelessness — in fact, 
because . . . because, in fact, Mr. Golyadkin knew perfectly 
well because of what ! At this point Mr. Golyadkin blushed in 
his sleep, and, smothering his blushes, muttered to himself that 
in this case he ought to be able to show the strength of his 
character, he ought to be able to show in this case the remarkable 
strength of his character, and then wound up by asking himself, 
“ What, after all, is strength of character ? Why understand it 
now ? ” . . • 


230 



But what irritated and enraged Mr. Golyadkin most of all 
was that invariably, at such a moment, a person well known for 
his undignified burlesque behaviour turned up uninvited, and, 
regardless of the fact that the matter was apparently settled, 
he, too, wquld begin muttering, with an unseemly little smile 
“ What’s the use of strength of character ! How could you 
and I, Yakov Petrovitch, have strength of character ? . . 

Then Mr. Golyadkin would dream that he was in the company 
of a number of persons distinguished for their wit and good 
breeding; that he, Mr. Golyadkin, too, was conspicuous for his 
wit and politeness, that everybody liked him, even some of his 
enemies who were present began to like him, which was very 
agreeable to Mr. Golyadkin ; that every one gave him precedence, 
and that at last Mr. Golyadkin himself, with gratification, over- 
heard the host, drawing one of the guests aside, speak in his, 
Mr. Golyadkin’s, praise . . . and all of a sudden, apropos of 
nothing, there appeared again a person, notorious for his treachery 
and brutal impulses, in the form of Mr. Golyadkin junior, and on 
the 6pot, at once, by his very appearance on the scene, Mr. 
Golyadkin junior destroyed the whole triumph and glory of 
Mr. Golyadkin senior, eclipsed Mr. Golyadkin senior, trampled 
him in the mud, and, at last, proved clearly that Golyadkin 
senior — that is, the genuine one — was not the genuine one at 
all but the sham, and that he, Golyadkin junior, was the real 
one; that, in fact, Mr. Golyadkin senior was not at all 
what he appeared to be, but something very disgraceful, 
and that consequently he had no right to mix in the society 
of honourable and well-bred people. And all this was done 
so quickly that Mr. Golyadkin had not time to open his 
mouth before all of them were subjugated, body and soul, by 
the wicked, sham Mr. Golyadkin, and with profound contempt 
rejected him, the real and innocent Mr. Golyadkin. There was 
not one person left whose opinion the infamous Mr. Golyadkin 
would not have changed round. There was not left one person, 
even the most insignificant of the company, to whom the false 
and worthless Mr. Golyadkin would not make up in his blandest 
manner, upon whom he would not fawn in his own way, before 
whom he would not bum sweet and agreeable incense, so that 
the flattered person simply sniffed and sneezed till the tears 
came, in token of the intensest pleasure. And the worst of it 
wafc that all this was done in a flash : the swiftness of move- 
ment of the false and worthless Mr. Golyadkin was marvellous ! 

231 



He scarcely had time, for instance, to make up to one person 
and win his good graces — and before one could wink an eye he 
was at another. He stealthily fawns on another, drops a smile 
of benevolence, twirls on his short, round, though rather wooden- 
looking leg, and already he’s at a third, and is cringing upon 
a third, he’s making up to him in a friendly way; before one 
has time to open one’s mouth, before one has time to feel sur- 
prised he’s at a fourth, at the same manoeuvres with him — it was 
horrible : sorcery and nothing else ! And every one was pleased 
with him and everybody liked him, and every one was exalting 
him, and all were proclaiming in chorus that his politeness 
and sarcastic wit were infinitely superior to the politeness and 
sarcastic wit of the real Mr. Golyadkin and putting the real and 
innocent Mr. Golyadkin to shame thereby and rejecting the 
veritable Mr. Golyadkin, and shoving and pushing out the loyal 
Mr. Golyadkin, and showering blows on the man so well known 
for his love towards his fellow creatures ! . . . 

In misery, in terror and in fury, the cruelly treated Mr. Golyad- 
kin ran out into the street and began trying to take a cab in 
order to drive straight to his Excellency’s, or, at any rate, to 
Andrey Filippovitch’s, but — horror ! the cabman absolutely 
refused to take Mr. Golyadkin, saying, “ We cannot drive two 
gentlemen exactly alike, sir ; a good man tries to live honestly, your 
honour, and never has a double.” Overcome with shame, the 
unimpeachable, honest Mr. Golyadkin looked round and did, in 
fact, assure himself with his own eyes that the cabman and 
Petrushka', who had joined them, were all quite right, for the 
depraved Mr. Golyadkin was actually on the spot, beside him, 
close at hand, and with his characteristic nastiness was again, 
at this critical moment, certainly preparing to do something very 
unseemly, and quite out of keeping with that gentlemanliness 
of character which is usually acquired by good breeding — that 
gentlemanlineBS of which the loathsome Mr. Golyadkin the 
second was always boasting on every opportunity. Beside him- 
self with shame and despair, the utterly ruined though perfectly 
just Mr. Golyadkin dashed headlong away, wherever fate might 
lead him ; but with every step he took, with every thud of his 
foot on the granite of the pavement, there leapt up as though out 
of the earth a Mr. Golyadkin precisely the same, perfectly alike, 
and of a revolting depravity of heart. And all these precisely 
similar Golyadkins set to running after one another as soon as 
they appeared, and stretched in a long chain like a file of geese, 

232 



hobbling after the real Mr. Golyadkin, bo there was nowhere 
to escape from these duplicates — so that Mr. Golyadkin, who was 
in every way deserving of compassion, was breathless with 
terror; so that at last a terrible multitude of duplicates had 
sprung into being ; so that the whole town was obstructed at 
last by duplicate Golyadkins, and the police officer, seeing such 
a breach of decorum, was obliged to seize all these duplicates by 
the collar and to put them into the watch-house, which happened 
to be beside him. . . . Numb and chill with horror, our hero 
woke up, and numb and chill with horror felt that his waking 
state was hardly more cheerful. ... It was oppressive and 
harrowing. ... He was overcome by such anguish that it 
seemed as though some one were gnawing at his heart. 

At last Mr. Golyadkin could endure it no longer. “ This shall 
not be ! ” he cried, resolutely sitting up in bed, and after this 
exclamation he felt fully awake. 

It seemed as though it were rather late in the day. It was 
unusually light in the room. The sunshine filtered through the 
frozen panes and flooded the room with light, which surprised 
M. Golyadkin not a little and, so far as Mr. Golyadkin could re- 
member, at least, there had scarcely ever been such exceptions 
in the course of the heavenly luminary before. Our hero had 
hardly time to wonder at this when he heard the clock buzzing 
behind the partition as though it was just on the point of 
striking. “ Now,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, and he prepared 
to listen with painful suspense. . . . 

But to complete M. Golyadkin’s astonishment, the clock 
whirred and only struck once. 

“ What does this mean ! ” cried our hero, finally leaping out 
of bed. And, unable to believe his ears, he rushed behind the 
screen just as he was. It actually was one o’clock. Mr. Golyad- 
kin glanced at Petrushka’s bed; but the room did not even 
smell of Petrushka : his bed had long been made and left, his 
boots were nowhere to be seen either — an unmistakable sign 
that Petrushka was not in the house. Mr. Golyadkin rushed 
to the door : the door was locked. “ But where is he, where is 
Petrushka ? ” he went on in a whisper, conscious of intense 
excitement and feeling a perceptible tremor run all over him. . . 
Suddenly a thought floated into his mind . . . Mr. Golyadkin 
rushed to the table, looked all over it, felt all round — yes, it was 
true, his letter of the night before to Vahramyev was not there. 
Petrushka was nowhere behind the screen either, the clock had 

233 



just struck one, and some new points were evident to him in 
Vahramyev’s letter, points that were obscure at first sight though 
now they were fully explained. Petrushka had evidently been 
bribed at last ! “ Yes, yes, that was so ! ” 

“ So this was how the chief plot was hatched ! ” cried Mr. 
Golyadkin, slapping himself on the forehead, opening his eyes 
wider and wider; “so in that filthy German woman’s den the 
whole power of evil lies hidden now ! So she was only making 
a strategic diversion in directing me to the Ismailovsky Bridge — 
she was putting me off the scent, confusing me (the worthless 
witch), and in that way laying her mines l Yes, that is so ! 
If one only looks at the thing from that point of view, all of this 
is bound to be so, and the scoundrel’s appearance on the scene 
is fully explained : it’s all part and parcel of the same thing. 
They’ve kept him in reserve a long while, they had him in readi- 
ness for the evil day. This is how it has all turned out ! This 
is what it has come to. But there, never mind. No time has 
been lost^o far.” 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin recollected with horror that it 
was past one in the afternoon. “ What if they have succeeded 
by now ? . . .” He uttered a moan. . . . “ But, no, they are 
lying they’ve not had time — we shall see. . . .” 

Ho dressed after a fashion, seized paper and a pen, and 
scribbled the following missive — 

“ Dear Sir Yakov Petrovitch I 

“ Either you or I, but both together is out of the 
question ! And so I must inform you that your strange, absurd, 
and at* the same time impossible desire to appear to be my 
twin and to give yourself out as such serves no other purpose 
than to bring about your complete disgrace and discomfiture. 
And so 1 beg you, for the sake of your own advantage, to step 
aside anc make way for really honourable men of loyal aims. 
In the opposite case I am ready to determine upon extreme 
measures. I lay down my pen and await . . . However, I 
remain ready to oblige or to meet you with pistols. 

“ Y. GOLYADKIN.” 

Our hero rubbed his hands energetically when he had finished 
the letter. Then, pulling on his greatcoat and putting on his 
hat, he unlocked his flat with a spare key and set off for the 
department. He reached the office but could not make up his 

234 



mind to go in— it was by now too late. It was half-past two by 
Mr. Golyadkin’s watch. All at once a circumstance of apparently 
little importance settled some doubts in Mr. Golyadkin’s mind : 
a flushed and breathless figure suddenly made its appearance 
from behind the screen of the department building and with a 
stealthy movement like a rat he darted up the steps and into 
the entry. It was a copying clerk called Ostafyev, a man Mr. 
Golyadkin knew very well, who was rather useful and ready 
to do anything for a trifle. Knowing Ostafyev’s weak spot 
and surmising that after his brief, unavoidable absence he would 
probably be greedier than ever for tips, our hero made up his 
mind not to be sparing of them, and immediately darted up 
the steps, and then into the entry after him, called to him and, 
with a mysterious air, drew him aside into a convenient comer 
behind a huge iron stove. And having led him there, our hero 
began questioning him. 

“ Well, my dear fellow, how are things going in there . . . 
you understand me ? ” . . . 

“ Yes, your honour, I wish you good health, your honour.” 

" All right, my good man, all right ; but 1 11 reward you, my 
good fellow. Well, you see, how are things ? ” 

“ What is your honour asking ? ” At this point Ostafyev held 
his hand as though by accident before his open mouth. 

“ You see, my dear fellow, this is how it is . . , but don’t 
you imagine . . . Come, is Audrey Filippo vitch here ? ” . . . 

“ Yes, he is here.” 

“ And are the clerks here ? ” 

“ Yes, sir, they are here as usual.” 

“ And his Excellency too ? ” 

“ And his Excellency too.” Here the man held his hand 
before his open mouth again, and looked rather curiously and 
strangely at Mr. Golyadkin, so at least our hero fancied. 

“ And there’B nothing special there, my good man ? ” 

“ No, sir, certainly not, sir.” 

“ So there’s nothing concerning me, my friend. Is there 
nothing going on there — that is, nothing more than . . . eh? 
nothing more, you understand, my friend ? ” 

“ No, sir, I’ve heard nothing so far, sir.” Again the man 
put his hand before his mouth and again looked rather strangely 
Mr. Golyadkin. The fact was, Mr. Golyadkin was trying to 
re&d Ostafyev’s countenance, trying to discover whether there 
not something hidden in it. And, in fact, he did look as 

235 



though he were hiding something: Ostafyev seemed to grow 
colder and more churlish, and did not enter into Mr. Golyadkin’s 
interests with the same sympathy as at the beginning of the 
conversation. “ He is to some extent justified,” thought Mr. 
Golyadkin. “ After all, what am I to him ? Perhaps he haB 
already been bribed by the other side, and that's why he has 
just been absent. But, here, I'll try him. . . .” Mr. Golyadkin 
realized that the moment for kopecks had arrived. 

44 Here, my dear fellow . . .” 

44 I’m feelingly grateful for your honour’s kindness.” 

44 1’U give you more than that.” 

44 Yes, your honour.” 

44 I’ll give you some more directly, and when the business is 
over I’ll give you as much again. Do you understand ? ” 

The clerk did not speak. He stood at attention and stared 
fixedly at Mr Golyadkin. 

44 Come, tell me now : have you heard nothing about me ? ... 

44 I think, so far, I have not ... so to say . . . nothing bo 
far.” Ostafyev, like Mr. Golyadkin, spoke deliberately and 
preserved a mysterious air, moving his eyebrows a little, looking 
at the ground, trying to fall into the suitable tone, and, in fact, 
doing his very utmost to earn what had been promised him, 
for what he had received already he reckoned as already earned. 

44 And you know nothing ? ” 

44 So far, nothing, sir.” 

44 Listen.. . . you know . . . maybe you will know . . 

44 Later on, of course, maybe I shall know.” 

44 It’s a poor look out,” thought our hero. 44 Listen : here’s 
something more, my dear fellow.” 

44 1 am truly grateful to your honour.” 

44 Was Vahramyev here yesterday ? . . .” 

44 Yes, sir.” 

44 And . . . somebody else ? . . . Was he ? . . . Try and 
remember, brother.” 

The man ransacked his memory for a moment, and could 
think of nothing appropriate. 

44 No, sir, there wasn't anybody else.” 

44 H’m ! ” a silence followed. 

44 Listen, brother, here’s some more ; tell me all, every detail.” 

44 Yes, sir,” Ostafyev had by now become as soft as silk; 
which was just what Mr. Golyadkin needed. 

44 Explain to me now, my good man, what footing is he on ? ” 

236 



“ All right, sir, a good one, sir,” answered the man, gazing 
open-eyed at Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ How do you mean, all right ? ” 

“ WeU, it's just like that, sir.” Here Ostafyev twitched his 
eyebrows significantly. But he was utterly nonplussed and 
didn’t know what more to say. 

“ It’s a poor look out,” thought Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ And hasn’t anything more happened ... in there . . . 
about Vahramyev? ” 

“ But everything is just as usual.” 

" Think a little.” 

” There is, they say . . .” 

“ Come, what ? ” 

Ostafyev put his hand in front of his mouth. 

“ Wasn’t there a letter . . . from here . . . to me!” 

“ Mihyeev the attendant went to Vahramyev’s lodging, to 
their German landlady, so 1 11 go and ask him, if you like.” 

“ Do me the favour, brother, for goodness’ sake ! . . . I only 
mean . . . you mustn’t imagine anything, brother, I only mean 
. . . Yes, you question him, brother, find out whether they are not 
getting up something concerning me. Find out how he is acting. 
That is what I want ; that is what you must find out, my dear 
fellow, and then I’ll reward you, my good man. . . .” 

“ I will, your honour, and Ivan Semyonovitch sat in your place 
to-day, sir.” 

“ Ivan Semyonovitch ? Oh ! really, you don’t say so.” 

“ Andrey Filippovitch told him to sit there.” 

“ Re-al-ly 1 How did that happen ? You must find out, 
brother ; for God’s sake find out, brother ; find it all out — and 
I’ll reward you, my dear feUow ; that’s what I want to know . . . 
and don’t you imagine anything, brother. . . .” 

“ Just so, sir, just so ; I’ll go at once. And aren’t you going 
in to-day, sir ! ” 

“ No, my friend ; I only looked round, I only looked round, 
you know. I only came to have a look round, my friend, and 
I’ll reward you afterwards, my friend.” 

“ Yes, sir.” The man ran rapidly and eagerly up the stairs 
and Mr. Golyadkin was left alone. 

“ It’s a poor look out ! ” he thought. “ Ech, it’s a bad busi- 
ness, a bad business ! Ech ! things are in a bad way with us 
now ! What does it all mean ? What did that drunkard’s 
taauniations mean, for instanoe, and whose trickery was it! 

237 



Ah ! I know now whose it was. And what a thing this is. No 
doubt they found out and made him sit there. . . . But, after 
all, did they sit him there ? It was Andrey Filippovitch sat 
him there, he sat Ivan Semyonovitch there himself ; why did he 
make' him sit there and with what object ? Probably they found 
out. . . . That is Vahramyev’s work — that is, not Vahramyev, 
he is as stupid as an ashen post, Vahramyev is, and they are all 
at work on his behalf, and they egged that scoundrel on to come 
here for the same purpose, and the German woman brought up 
her grievance, the one-eyed hussy. I always suspected that 
this intrigue was not without an object and that in all this old- 
womanish gossip there must be something, and I said as much 
to Krestyan Ivanovitch, telling him they’d sworn to cut a man’s 
throat — in a moral sense, of course — and they pounced upon 
Karolina Ivanovna. Yes, there are master hands at work in this, 
one can see ! Yes, sir, there are master hands at work here, and 
not Vahramyev’s. I’ve said already that Vahramyev is stupid, 
but ... I know who it is behind it all, it’s that rascal, that 
impostor ! It’s only that he relies upon, which is partly proved 
by his successes in the best society. And it would certainly be 
desirable to know on what footing he stands now. What is he 
now among them ? Only, why have they taken Ivan Semyono- 
vitch ? What the devil do they want with Ivan Semyonovitch ? 
Could not they have found any one else ? Though it would come to 
the same thing whoever it had been, and the only thing I know 
is that I have suspected Ivan Semyonovitch for a long time 
past. I noticed long ago what a nasty, homed old man he was— 
they say he lends money and takes interest like any Jew. To be 
sure, the bear’s the leading spirit in the whole affair. One can 
detect the bear in the whole affair. It began in this way. It 
began at the Ismailovsky Bridge ; that’s how it began . . 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin frowned, as though he had taken 
a bite out of a lemon, probably remembering something very 
unpleasant. 

“ But, there, it doesn’tmatter,” he thought. “ I keep harping 
on my own troubles. What will Ostafyev find out? Most 
likely he is staying on or has been delayed somehow. It is a 
good thing, in a sense, that I am intriguing like this, and am laying 
mines on my side too. I’ve only to give Ostafyev ten kopecks 
and he’s ... so to speak, on my side. Only the point is, is 
he really on my side ? Perhaps they’ve got him on their side 
too . . . and they are carrying on an intrigue by means of him 

238 



on their side too. He looks a ruffian, the rascal, a regular 
ruffian ; he’s hiding something, the rogue. * No, nothing/ says 
he, ‘ and I am deeply grateful to your honour/ says he. You 
ruffian, you ! ” 

He heard a noise . . . Mr. Golyadkin shrank up and skipped 
behind the stove. Some one came down stairs and went out 
into the street. “ Who could that be going away now ? ” our 
hero thought to himself. A minute later footsteps were audible 
again. ... At this point Mr. Golyadkin could not resist poking 
the very tip of his nose out beyond his corner — he poked it out 
and instantly withdrew it again, as though some one had pricked 
it with a pin. This time some one he knew well was coming — 
that is the scoundrel, the intriguer and the reprobate — he was 
approaching with his usual mean, tripping little step, prancing and 
shuffling with his feet as though he were going to kick some one. 

" The rascal,” said our hero to himself. 

Mr. Golyadkin could not, however, help observing that the 
rascal had under his arm a huge green portfolio belonging to 
his Excellency. 

“ He’s on a special commission again,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, 
flushing crimson and shrinking into himself more than ever 
from vexation. 

As soon as Mr. Golyadkin junior had slipped past Mr. Golyadkin 
senior without observing him in the least, footsteps were heard 
for the third time, and this time Mr. Golyadkin guessed that 
these were Ostafyev’s. It was, in fact, the sleek figure of a copying 
clerk, Pisarenko by name. This surprised Mr. Golyadkin. 
Why had he mixed up other people in their secret ? our hero 
wondered. What barbarians ! nothing is sacred to them ! “ Well, 
my friend ? ” he brought out, addressing Pisarenko : 11 who sent 
you, my friend ? . . .” 

“ I’ve come about your business. There’s no news so far 
from any one. But should there be ai\y we’ll let you know.” 

“ And Ostafyev ? ” 

“ It was quite impossible for him to come, your honour. His 
Excellency has walked through the room twice, and I’ve no 
*ime to stay.” 

“ Thank you, my good man, thank you . . . only, tell me . . .” 

“ Upon my word, sir, I can’t stay. . . . They are asking for 
us every minute . . . but if your honour will stay here, we’ll 
let you know if anything happens concerning your little affair.” 

” No, my friend, you just tell me . . 

239 



“ Excuse me, I’ve no time to stay, sir,” said Pisarenko, tearing 
himself away from Mr. Golyadkin, who had clutched him by the 
lapel of his coat. “ I really can’t. If your honour will stay 
here we’ll let you know.” 

“ In a minute, my good man, in a minute ! In a minute, my 
good fellow ! I tell you what, here’s a letter ; and I’ll reward 
you, my good man.” 

“ Yes, sir.” 

“ Try and give it to Mr. Golyadkin my dear fellow.” 

“Golyadkin?” 

“ Yes, my man, to Mr. Golyadkin.” 

“ Very good, sir ; as soon as I get off I’ll take it, and you stay 
here, meanwhile; no one will see you here. . . .” 

“ No, my good man, don’t imagine . . . I’m not standing 
here to avoid being seen. But I’m not going to stay here now, 
my friend. . . . I’ll be close here in the side street. There’s 
a coffee-house near here; so I’ll wait there, and if anything 
happens, you let me know about anything, you understand ? ” 

“ Very good, sir. Only let me go ; I understand.” 

“ And I’ll reward you,” Mr. Golyadkin called after Pisarenko, 
when he had at last released him. . . 

“ The rogue seemed to be getting rather rude,” our hero 
reflected as he stealthily emerged from behind t^ie stove. 
“ There’s some other dodge here. That’s clear. ... At first 
it was one thing and another ... he really was in a hurry, 
though ; perhaps there’s a great deal to do in the office. And his 
Excellency had been through the room twice. . . . How did 
that happen ? .* . . Ough ! never mind ! It may mean nothing, 
perhaps ; but now we shall see. . . .” 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin was about to open the door, 
intending to go out into the street, when suddenly, at that very 
instant, his Excellency’s carriage dashed up to the door. Before 
Mr. Golyadkin had time to recover from the shock, the door 
of the carriage was opened from within and a gentleman jumped 
out. This gentleman was no other than Mr. Golyadkin junior, 
who had only gone out ten minutes before. Mr. Golyadkin 
senior remembered that the Director’s flat was only a couple 
of paces away. 

“ He has been out on a special commission,” our hero thought 
to himself. 

Meanwhile, Mr. Golyadkin junior took out of the carriage 
a thick green portfolio and other papers. Finally, giving some 

240 



orders to the coachman, he opened the door, almost ran up 
against Mr. Golyadkin senior, purposely avoided noticing him, 
acting in this way expressly to annoy him, and mounted the 
office staircase at a rapid canter. 

“ It’s a bad look out,” thought Mr. Golyadkin. “ This is what 
it has come to now ! Oh, good Lord l look at him.” 

For half a minute our hero remained motionless. At last 
he made up his mind. Without pausing to think, though he 
was aware of a violent palpitation of the heart and a tremor 
in all his limbs, he ran up the stairs after his enemy. 

“ Here goes; what does it matter to me! I have nothing to 
do with the case,” he thought, taking off his hat. his greatcoat 
and his goloshes in the entry. 

When Mr. Golyadkin walked into his office, it was already 
getting dusk. Neither Andrey Filippovitch nor Anton Antono- 
vitch were in the room. Both of them were in the Director’s 
room, handing in reports. The Director, so it was rumoured, 
was in haste to report to a still higher Excellency, In con- 
sequence of this, and also because twilight was coming on, and 
the office hours were almost over, several of the clerks, especially 
the younger ones, were, at the moment when our hero entered, 
enjoying a period of inactivity; gathered together in groups, 
they were talking, arguing, and laughing, and some of the 
most youthful — that is, belonging to the lowest grades in the 
service, had got up a game of pitch-farthing in a corner, 
by a window. Kinowing what was proper, and feeling at 
the moment a special need to conciliate and get on with 
them, Mr. Golyadkin immediately approached those with whom 
he used to get on best, in order to wish them good day, and so 
on. But his colleagues answered his greetings rather strangety. 
He was unpleasantly impressed by a certain coldness, even 
curtness, one might almost say severity in their manner. No 
one shook hands with him. Some simply said, “ Good day ” 
and walked away; others barely nodded; one simply turned 
away and pretended not to notice him ; at last some of them — 
and what mortified Mr. Golyadkin most of all, some of the 
youngsters of the lowest grades, mere lads who, as Mr. Golyadkin 
justly observed about them, were capable of nothing but hanging 
about and playing pitch -farthing at every opportunity — little 
by little collected round Mr. Golyadkin, formed a group round 
him and almost barred his way. They all looked at him with 
a Bort of insulting curiosity. 

K 


24I 



It was a bad sign. Mr. Golyadkin felt this, and very judiciously 
decided not to notice it. Suddenly a quite unexpected event 
completely finished him off, as they say, and utterly crushed 
him. 

At the moment most trying to Mr. Golyadkin senior, suddenly, 
as though by design, there appeared in the group of fellow clerks 
surrounding him the figure of Mr. Golyadkin junior, gay as ever, 
smiling a little smile as ever, nimble, too, as ever ; in short, mis- 
chievous, skipping and tripping, chuckling and fawning, with 
sprightly tongue and sprightly toe, as always, precisely as he 
had been the day before at a very unpleasant moment for Mr. 
Golyadkin senior, for instance. 

Grinning, tripping and turning with a smile that seemed to say 
“ good evening,” to every one, he squeezed his way into the group 
of clerks, shaking hands with one, slapping another on the shoulder, 
putting his arm round another, explaining to a fourth how. he had 
come to be employed by his Excellency, where he had been, what 
he had done, what he had brought with him ; to the fifth, pro- 
bably his most intimate friend, he gave a resounding kiss— in fact, 
everything happened as it had in Mr. Golyadkin’s dream. When 
he had skipped about to his heart’s content, polished them all off 
|n his usual way, disposed them all in his favour, whether he 
needed them or not, when he had lavished his blandishments 
to the delectation of all the clerks, Mr. Golyadkin junior suddenly, 
and most likely by mistake, for he had not yet had time to notice 
his senior, held out his hand to Mr. Golyadkin senior also. Pro- 
bably also by mistake — though he had had time to observe 
the dishonourable Mr. Golyadkin junior thoroughly, our hero 
at once eagerly seized the hand so unexpectedly held out to him 
and pressed it in the warmest and friendliest way, pressed it 
with a strange, quite -unexpected, inner feeling, with a tearful 
emotion. Whether our hero was misled by the first movement of 
his worthless loe, or was taken unawares, or, without recognizing 
It, felt at the bottom of his heart how defenceless he was — 
it is difficult to say. The fact remains that Mr. Golyadkin senior, 
apparently knowing what he was doing, of his own free will, 
before witnesses, solemnly shook hands with him whom he 
called his mortal foe. But what was the amazement, the stupe- 
faction and fury, what was the horror and the shame of Mr. 
Golyadkin senior, when his enemy and mortal foe, the dishon- 
ourable Mr. Golyadkin junior, noticing the mistake of that 
persecuted, innocent, perfidiously deceived man, without a trace 

242 



of shame, of feeling, of compassion or of conscience, pulled his 
hand away with insufferable rudeness and insolence. What 
was worse, he shook the hand as thought it had been polluted with 
something horrid; what is more, he spat aside with disgust, 
accompanying this with a most insulting gesture; worse still, 
he drew out his handkerchief and, in the most unseemly way, 
wiped all the fingers that had rested for one moment in the 
hand of Mr. Golyadkin senior. While he did this Mr. Golyadkin 
junior looked about him in his characteristic horrid way, took 
care that every one should see what he was doing, glanced inta 
people’s eyes and evidently tried to insinuate to every one 
everything that was most unpleasant in regard to Mr. Golyadkin 
senior. Mr. Golyadkin junior’s revolting behaviour seemed to 
arouse general indignation among the clerks that surrounded 
them; even the frivolous youngsters showed their displeasure. 
A murmur of protest rose on all sides. Mr. Golyadkin could not 
but discern the general feeling ; but suddenly— an appropriate 
witticism that bubbled from the lips of Mr. Golyadkin junior 
shattered, annihilated our hero’s last hopes, and inclined the 
balance again in favour of his deadly and undeserving foe. 

“ He’s our Russian Faublas, gentlemen ; allow me to introduce 
the youthful Faublas,” piped Mr. Golyadkin junior, with his 
characteristic insolence, pirouetting and threading his way 
among the clerks, and directing their attention to the petrified 
though genuine Mr. Golyadkin. “ Let us kiss each other, darling,” 
he went on with insufferable familiarity, addressing the man he 
had so treacherously insulted. Mr. Golyadkin junior’s unworthy 
jest seemed to touch a responsive chord, for it contained an 
artful allusion to an incident with which all were apparently 
familiar. Our hero was painfully conscious of the hand of his 
enemies But he had made up his mind by now. With glowing 
eyes, with pale face, with a fixed smile he tore himself somehow 
out of the crowd and with uneven, hurried steps made straight 
for his Excellency’s private room. In the room next to the 
last he was met by Andrey Filippovitch, who had only just 
come out from seeing his Excellency, and although there were 
present in this room at the moment a good number of persons of 
whom Mr. Golyadkin knew nothing, yet our hero did not care to 
take such a fact into consideration. Boldly, resolutely, directly, 
almost wondering at himself and inwardly admiring his own 
courage, without loss of time he accosted Andrey Filippovitch, 
who was a good deal surprised by this unexpected attack. 

243 



“ Ah ! . . • What is it . . . what do you want ? ” asked the 
head of the division, not hearing Mr. Golyadkin’s hesitating words. 

“ Andrey Filippovitch, may . . . might I, Andrey Filippovitch, 
may I have a conversation with his Excellency at once and in 
private ? ” our hero said resolutely and distinctly, fixing the 
most determined glance on Andrey Filippovitch. 

“ What next ! of course not.” Andrey Filippovitch scanned 
Mr. Golyadkin from head to foot. 

“ I say all this, Andrey Filippovitch, because I am surprised 
that no one here unmasks the impostor and scoundrel.” 

“ Wha-a-at ! ” 

“ Scoundrel, Andrey Filippovitch ! ” 

“ Of whom are you pleased to speak in those terms ! ” 

“Of a oertain person, Andrey Filippovitch ; I’m alluding. 
Andrey Filippovitch, to a certain person ; I have the right . . . 
I imagine, Andrey Filippovitch, that the authorities would surely 
encourage such action,” added Mr. Golyadkin, evidently hardly 
knowing what he was saying. “ Andrey Filippovitch . . . but 
no doubt you see yourself, Andrey Filippovitch, that this honour- 
able action is a mark of my loyalty in every way — of my looking 
upon my superior as a father, Andrey Filippovitch ; I as much 
as to say look upon my benevolent superior as a father and 
blindly trust my fate to him. It’s as much as to say . . . you 
see . . .” At this point Mr. Golyadkin’s voice trembled and 
two tears ran down his eyelashes. 

As Andrey Filippovitch listened to Mr. Golyadkin he was so 
astonished that he could not help stepping back a couple of 
paces. Then he looked about him uneasily ... It is difficult 
to say how the matter would have ended. But suddenly the 
door of his Excellency’s room was opened, and he himself came 
out, accompanied by several officials. All the persons in his room 
followed in a string. His Excellency called Andrey Filippovitch 
and walked beside him, beginning to discuss some business 
details. When all had set off and gone out of the room, Mr. 
Golyadkin woke up. Growing calmer, he took refuge under 
the wing of Anton Antonovitch, who came last in the procession 
and who, Mr. Golyadkin fancied, looked stem and anxious. “ I’ve 
been talking nonsense, I’ve been making a mess of it again, but 
there, never mind,” he thought. 

“ I hope, at least, that you, Anton Antonovitch, will consent 
to listen to me and to enter into my position,” he said quietly, in 
a voice that still trembled a little. “ Rejected by all, 1 appeal to 

244 



you. I am still at a loss to understand what Audrey Filippo vitch’s 
words mean, Anton Antonovitch. Explain them to me if you 
can. • 

“ Everything will be explained in due time,” Anton Antonovitch 
replied sternly and emphatically, and as Mr. Golyadkin fancied 
with an air that gave him plainly to understand that Anton 
Antonovitch did not wish to continue the conversation. “ You 
will soon know all about it. You will b© officially informed 
about everything to-day.” 

“What do you mean by officially informed, Anton Antonovitch ? 
Why officially ? ” our hero asked timidly. 

“It is not for you and me to discuss what our superiors 
decide upon, Yakov Petrovitch.” 

“ Why our superiors, Anton Antonovitch ? ” said our hero, 
still more intimidated ; “ why our superiors ? I don’t see what 
reason there is to trouble our superiors in the matter, Anton 
Antonovitch . . . Perhaps you mean to say something about 
yesterday’s doings, Anton Antonovitch ? ” 

“Oh no, nothing to do with yesterday; there’s something 
else 'amiss with you.” 

“ What ia there amiss, Anton Antonovitch ? I believe, Anton 
Antonovitch, that I have done nothing amiss.” 

“ Why, you were meaning to be sly with some one,” Anton 
Antonovitch cut in sharply, completely flabbergasting Mr. 
Golyadkin. 

Mr. Golyadkin started, and turned as white as a pocket- 
handkerchief. 

“ Of course, Anton Antonovitch,” he said, in a voice hardly 
audible, “ if one listens to the voice of calumny and hears ones 
enemies’ tales, without heeding what the other side has to say 
in its defence, then, of course. . . . then, of course, Anton 
Antonovitch, one must suffer innocently and for nothing.” 

“ To be sure ; but your unseemly conduct, in injuring the 
reputation of a virtuous young lady belonging to that benevolent, 
highly distinguished and well-known family who had befriended 
you . . . 

“ What conduct do you mean, Anton Antonovitch ? ” 

“ What I say. Do you know anything about your praiseworthy 
conduct in regard to that other young lady who, though poor, 
is of honourable foreign extraction ? ” 

*• Allow me, Anton Antonovitch ... if you would kindly 
listen to me, Anton Antonovitch , , 

245 



“ And your treacherous behaviour and slander of another 
person, your charging another person with your own sins. Ah, 
what do you call that ? ” 

“ I did not send him away, Anton Antonovitch, ,, said our 
hero, with a tremor; “and I've never instructed Petrushka, 
my man, to do anything of the sort ... He has eaten my bread, 
Anton Antonovitch, he has taken advantage of my hospitality,” 
our hero added expressively and with deep emotion, so 
much so that his chin twitched a little and bears were ready to 
start again. 

“ That is only your talk, that he has eaten your bread,” 
answered Anton Antonovitch, somewhat offended, and there was 
a perfidious note in his voice which sent a pang to Mr. Golyadkin’s 
heart. 

“ Allow me most humbly to ask you again, Anton Antonovitch, 
is his Excellency aware of all /this business? ” 

“ Upon my word, you must let me go now, though. I’ve no 
time for you now. . . . You'll know everything you need to 
know to-day.” 

“ Allow me, for God's sake, one minute, Anton Antonovitch.” 

“Tell me afterwards. . .” 

“ No, Anton Antonovitoh ; I . . . you see, Ahton Antono- 
vitch . . . only listen ... I am not one for freethinking, 
Anton Antonovitch; 1 shun freethinking; I am quite ready 
for my part . . . and, indeed, I've given up that idea. . . 

11 Very good, very good. I’ve heard that already.” 

“ No, you have not heard it, Anton Antonovitch. It is some- 
thing else, Anton Antonovitch : it’s a good thing, really, a good 
thing and pleasant to hear. ... As I’ve explained to you, 
Anton Antonovitch, I admit that idea, that divine Provi- 
dence has created two men exactly alike, and that a benevolent 
government, seeing the hand of Providence, provided a berth for 
two twins. That is a good thing, Anton Antonovitch. You 
see that it is a very good thing, Anton Antonovitch, and that 
I am very far from freethinking. I look upon my benevolent 
government as a father ; I say ‘ yes,' by all means ; you are 
benevolent authorities, and you, of course. ... A young man 
must be in the service. . . . Stand up for me, Anton Antonovitch, 
take my part, Anton Antonovitch. ... I am all right . . . 
Anton Antonovitch, for God’s sake, one little word more . . . 
Anton Antonovitch. . . .” 

But by now Anton Antonovitch was far away from Mr, 

246 



Golyadkin. • . . Our hero was so bewildered and overcome by 
all that had happened and all that he had heard that he did not 
know where he was standing, what he had heard, what he had 
done, what was being done to him, and what was going to be done 
to him. 

With imploring eyes he sought for Anton Antonovitch in the 
crowd of clerks, that he might justify himself further in his eyes 
and say something to him extremely high toned and very agree* 
able, and Creditable to himself. . . . By degrees, however, a new 
light began to break upon our hero’s bewildered mind, a new and 
awful light that revealed at once a whole perspective of hitherto 
unknown and utterly* unsuspected circumstances. ... At that 
moment somebody gave our bewildered hero a poke in the ribs. 
He looked around. Pisarenko was standing before him. 

“ A letter, your honour.” 

“ Ah, you’ve been out already, then, my good man ? 99 

“ No, it was brought at ten o’clock this morning. Sergey 
Mihyeev, the attendant, brought it from Mr. Vahramyev’s 
lodging.” 

“ Very good, Very good, and I’ll reward you now, my dear 
fellow.” 

Saying this, Mr. Golyadkin thrust the letter in the side pocket 
of his unifprm and buttoned up every button of it; then he 
looked round him, and to his surprise, found that he was by now 
in the hall of the department, in a group of clerks crowding 
at the outer door, for office hours were over. Mr. Golyadkin 
had not only failed till that moment to observe this circumstance, 
but had no notion how he suddenly came to be wearing his 
greatcoat and goloshes and to be holding his hat in his hand* 
All the clerks were standing motionless, in reverential expectation. 
The fact was that his Excellency was standing at the bottom 
of the stairs waiting for his carriage, which was for some reason 
late in arriving, and was carr ying on a very interesting conversa*- 
tion with Audrey Filippo vitch and two councillors. At a little 
distance from Andrey Filippovitch stood Anton Antonovitcb 
and several dther clerks, who were all smiles, seeing that his 
Excellency was graciously making a joke. The clerks who were 
crowded at the top of the stairs were smiling too, in expectation 
of his Excellency’s laughing again. The only one who was not 
Bmiling was Fedosyevitch, the corpulent hall-porter, who stood 
stiffly at attention, holding the handle of the door, waiting im- 
patiently for the daily gratification that fell to his share — that is, 

247 



the task of flinging one half of the door wide open with a swing 
of his arm, and then, with a low bow, reverentially making way 
for his Excellency to pass. But the one who seemed to be more 
delighted than any and to feel the most satisfaction of all was 
the worthless and ungentlemanly enemy of Mr. Golyadkin. At 
that instant he positively forgot all the clerks, and even gave 
up tripping and pirouetting in his usual odious way ; he even 
forgot to make up to anybody. He was all eyes and ears, he 
even doubled himself up strangely, no doubt in the strained effort 
to hear, and never took his eyes off his Excellency, and only 
from time to time his arms, legs and head twitched with faintly 
perceptible tremors that betrayed the secret emotions of his 
soul. 

“ Ah, isn’t he in a state ! ” thought our hero; “ he looks like 
a favourite, the rascal ! I should like to know how it is that 
he deceives society of every class. He has neither brains nor 
character, neither education nor feeling ; he’s a lucky rogue ! 
Mercy on us ! How can a man, when you think of it, come and 
make friends with every one so quickly ! And he’ll get on, I 
swear the fellow will get on, the rogue will make his way — he’s a 
lucky rascal ! I should like to know, too, what he keeps whisper- 
ing to every one — what plots he is hatching with all these people, 
and what secrets they are talking about ? Lord, have mercy on us ! 
If only I could . . . get on with them a little tco . . . say this 
and that and the other. Hadn’t I better ask him . . . tell him 
I woirt do it again ; say ‘ I’m in fault, and a young man must 
serve nowada}^, your Excellency * ? I am not in the least abashed 
by my obscure position — so there ! I am not going to protest 
in any way, either ; I shall bear it all with meekness and patience, 
so there ! Is that the way to behave ? . . . Though you’ll 
never see through him, though, the rascal ; you can’t reach him 
with anything you say; you can’t hammer reason into his 
head. . . . We’ll make an effort, though. I may happen to hit 
on a good moment, so I’ll make an effort. . . .” 

Feeling in his uneasiness, his misery and his bewilderment 
that he couldn’t leave things like this, that the critical moment 
had come, that he must explain himself to some one, our hero 
began to move a little towards the place where his worthless 
and undeserving enemy stood : but at that very moment his 
Excellency’s long-expected carriage rolled up into the entrance, 
Fedosyevitch flung open the door and, bending double, let his 
Excellency pass out. All the waiting clerks streamed out 

248 



towards the door, and for a moment separated Mr. Golyadkin 
senior from Mr. Golyadkin junior. 

" You shan’t get away ! ” said our hero, forcing his way 
through the crowd while he kept his eyes fixed on the man 
he wanted. At last the crowd dispersed. Our hero felt he was 
free and flew in pursuit of his enemy. 


CHAPTER XI 

Mr. Golyadkin *s breath failed him ; he flew as though on wings 
after his rapidly retreating enemy. He was conscious of im- 
mense energy. Yet in spite of this terrible energy he might 
confidently have said that at that moment a humble gnat — 
had a gnat been able to exist in Petersburg at that time of the 
year — could very easily have knocked him down. He felt, too, that 
he was utterly weak again, that he was carried along by a peculiar 
outside force, that it was not he himself who was running, but, on 
the contrary, that his legs were giving way under him, and refused 
to obey him. This all might turn out for the best, however. 

“ Whether it is for the best or not for the best,” thought 
Mr. Golyadkin, almost breathless from running so quickly, 
“ but that the game is lost there cannot be the slightest doubt 
now ; that I am utterly done for is certain, definite, signed and 
ratified.” 

In spite of all this our hero felt as though he had risen from 
the dead, as though he had withstood a battalion, as though he 
had won a victory when he succeeded in clutching the overcoat 
of his enemy, who had already raised one foot to get into the 
cab he had engaged. 

“ My dear sir ! My dear sir ! ” he shouted to the infamous 
Mr. Golyadkin junior, holding him by the button. “ My dear 
sir, I hope that you . . .” 

" No, please do not hope for anything,” Mr. Golyadldn’s 
heartless enemy answered evasively, standing with one foot on 
the step of the cab and vainly waving the other leg in the air, 
in his efforts to get in, trying to preserve his equilibrium, and 
at the same time trying with all his might to wrench his coat 
away from Mr. Golyadkin senior, while the latter held on to it 
with all the strength that had been vouchsafed to him by 
nature. 

f< " Yakov Petrovitch, only ten minutes . , ” 

249 



14 Excuse me, I've no time . . .” 

“ You must admit, Yakov Petrovitch . . . please, Yakov 
Petrovitch. . . . For God’s sake, Yakov Petrovitch ... let us 
have it out — in a straightforward way . . . one little second, 
Yakov Petrovitch . . .” 

“ My dear fellow, I can’t stay,” answered Mr. Golyadkin’s 
dishonourable enemy, with uncivil familiarity, disguised as 
good-natured heartiness; “another time, believe me, with my 
whole soul and all my heart ; but now I really can’t . . .” 

“ Scoundrel ! ” thought our hero. “ Yakov Petrovitch,” he 
cried miserably. “ I have never been your enemy. Spiteful 
people have described me unjustly. ... I am ready, on my 
side . . . Yakov Petrovitch, shall we go in here together, at 
once, Yakov Petrovitch ? And with all my heart, as you have 
so justly expressed it just now, and in straightforward, 
honourable language, as you have expressed it just now — 
here into this coffee-house ; there the facts will explain them- 
selves : they will really, Yakov Petrovitch. Then everything 
will certainly explain itself. ...” 

" Into the coffee-house ? Very good. I am not against it. 
Let us go into the coffee-house on one condition only, my dear, 
on one condition — that these things shall be cleared up. We will 
have it all out, darling,” said Mr. Golyadkin junior, getting out 
of the cab and shamelessly slapping our hero on the shoulder ; 
“ You friend of my heart, for your sake, Yakov Petrovitch, I 
ain ready to go by the back street (as you were pleased to observe 
so aptly on one occasion, Yakov Petrovitch). Why, what a 
rogue he is ! Upon my word, he does just what he likes with 
one ! ” Mr. Golyadkin’s false friend went on, fawning upon him 
and cajoling him with a little smile. T*he coffee-house which the 
two Mr. Golyadkins entered stood some distance away from 
the main street and was at the moment quite empty. A rather 
stout German woman made her appearance behind the counter. 
Mr. Golyadkin and his unworthy enemy went into the second 
room, where a puffy-looking boy with a closely shaven head was 
busy with a bundle of chips at the stove, trying to revive the 
smouldering fire. At Mr. Golyadkin junior’s request chocolate 
was served. 

“ And a sweet little lady-tart,” said Mr. Golyadkin junior, 
with a sly wink at Mr. Golyadkin senior. 

Our hero blushed and was silent. 

“ Oh, yes, I forgot, I beg your pardon. I know your taste. 

250 



We are sweet on charming little Germans, sir ; you and I are 
Bweet on charming and agreeable little Germans, aren’t we, you 
upright soul ? We take their lodgings, we seduce their morals, 
they win our hearts with their beersoup and their milksoup, and 
we give them notes of different sorts, that’s what we do, you 
Faublas, you deceiver ! ” All this Mr. Golyadkin junior said, 
making an unworthy though villainously artful allusion to a 
certain personage of the female sex, while he fawned upon our 
hero, smiled at him with an amiable air, with a deceitful show of 
being delighted with him and pleased to have met him. Seeing 
that Mr. Golyadkin senior was by no means so stupid and 
deficient in breeding and the manners of good society as to 
believe in him, the infamous man resolved to change his tactics 
and to make a more open attack upon him. After uttering his 
disgusting speech, the false Mr. Golyadkin ended by slapping 
the real and substantial Mr. Golyadkin on the shoulder, with a 
revolting effrontery and familiarity. Not content with that, ho 
began playing pranks utterly unfit for well-bred society, he 
took it into his head to repeat his old, nauseous trick — that is, 
regardless of the resistance and faint cries of the indignant 
Mr. Golyadkin senior, he pinched the latter on the cheek. At 
the spectacle of such depravity our hero boiled within, but was 
silent . . . only for the time, however. 

“ That is the talk of my enemies,” he answered at last, in a 
trembling voice, prudently restraining himself. At the same 
time our hero looked round uneasily towards the door. The 
fact was that Mr. Golyadkin junior seemed in excellent spirits, 
and ready for all sorts of little jokes, unseemly in a public place, 
and, speaking generally, not permissible by the laws of good 
manners, especially in well-bred society. 

“ Oh, well, in that case, as you please,” Mr. Golyadkin junior 
gravely responded to our hero’s thought, setting down upon the 
table the empty cup which he had gulped down with unseemly 
greed. “ Well, there’s no need for me to stay long with you, 
however. . . . Well, how are you getting on now, Yakov 
Petrovitch ” 

“ There’s only one thing I can tell you, Yakov Petrovitch,” 
our hero answered, with sangfroid and dignity ; ” I’ve never been 
your enemy.” 

“ H’m. . . . Oh, what about Petrushka ? Petrushka is his 
name, I fancy ? Yes, it is Petrushka ! Well, how is he ? Well ? 
The same as ever ? ” 


251 



“ He’s the same as ever, too, Yakov Petrovitch,” answered 
Mr. Golyadkin senior, somewhat amazed. “ I don’t know, 
Yakov Petrovitch . . . from my standpoint . . . from a candid, 
honourable standpoint, Yakov Petrovitch, you must admit, 
Yakov Petrovitch. . . .” 

“ Yes, but you know yourself, Yakov Petrovitch,” Mr. Gol- 
yadkin junior answered in a soft and expressive voice, so posing 
falsely as a sorrowful man overcome with remorse and deserving 
compassion. “ You know yourself we live in difficult times. . . . 
I appeal to you, Yakov Petrovitch ; you are an intelligent man 
and your reflections are just,” Mr. Golyadkin junior said in 
conclusion, flattering Mr. Golyadkin senior in an abject way. 
“ Life is not a game, you know yourself, Yakov Petrovitch,” 
Mr. Golyadkin junior added, with vast significance, assuming 
the character of a clever and learned man, who is capable of 
passing judgments on lofty subjects. 

“ For my part, Yakov Petrovitch,” our hero answered warmly, 
“ for my part, scorning to be roundabout and speaking boldly 
and openly, using straightforward, honourable language and 
putting the whole matter on an honourable basis, I tell you I 
can openly and honourably assert, Yakov Petrovitch, that I am 
absolutely pure, and that, you know it yourself, Yakov Petro- 
vitch, the error is mutual — it may all be the world’s judgment, the 
opinion of the slavish crowd. ... I speak openly, Yakov Petro- 
vitch, everything is possible. I will say, too, Yakov Petrovitch, if 
you judge it in this way, if you look at the matter from a lofty, 
noble point gf view, then I will boldly say, without false shame 
I will say, Yakov Petrovitch, it will positively be a pleasure to 
me to discover that I have been in error, it will positively be a 
pleasure to me to recognize it. You know yourself you are an 
intelligent man and, what is more, you are a gentleman. With- 
out shame, without false shame, I am ready to recognize it,” 
he wound up with dignity and nobility. 

“ It is the deoree of destiny, Yakov Petrovitch . . . but let 
us drop all this,” said Mr. Golyadkin junior. “ Let us rather 
use the brief moment of our meeting for a more pleasant and 
profitable conversation, as is only suitable between two colleagues 
in the service. . . . Really, I have not succeeded in saying two 
words to you all this time. ... I am not to blame for that, 
Yakov Petrovitch. . . .” 

“ Nor I,” answered our hero warmly, “ nor I, either ! My 
heart tells me, Yakov Petrovitch, that I’m not to blame in all 

252 



this matter. Let us blame fate for all this, Yakov Petrovitch,” 
added Mr. Golyadkin senior, in a quick, conciliatory tone of 
voice. His voice began little by little to soften and to quaver. 

“ Well ! How are you in health ? ” said the sinner in a 
sweet voice. 

“ I have a little cough,” answered our hero, even more sweetly. 

“Take care of yourself. There is so much illness going 
about, you may easily get quinsy ; for my part I confess I’ve 
begun to wrap myself up in flannel.” 

“ One may, indeed, Yakov Petrovitch, very easily get quinsy,” 
our hero pronounced after a brief silence; “ Yakov Petrovitch, 
I see that I have made a mistake, I remember with softened 
feelings those happy moments which we were so fortunate as 
to spend together, under my poor, though I venture to say, 
hospitable roof . . .” 

“ In your letter, however, you wrote something very differ- 
ent,” said Mr. Golyadkin junior reproachfully, speaking on this 
occasion — though only on this occasion — quite justly. 

“ Yakov Petrovitch, I was in error. ... I see clearly now 
that I was in error in my unhappy letter too. Yakov Petro- 
vitch, I am ashamed to look at you, Yakov Petrovitch, you 
wouldn’t believe. . . . Give me that letter that I may tear it 
to pieces before your eyes, Yakov Petrovitch, and if that is 
utterly impossible I entreat you to read it the other way before — 
precisely the other way before — that is, expressly with a friendly 
intention, giving the opposite sense to the whole letter. I was 
in error. Forgive me, Yakov Petrovitch, I was quite ... I 
was grievously in error, Yakov Petrovitch.” 

“ You say so ? ” Mr. Golyadkin’s perfidious friend inquired, 
rather casually and indifferently. 

“ I say that I was quite in error, Yakov Petrovitch, and that 
for my part, quite without false shame, lam.. 

11 Ah, well, that’s all right ! That’s a nice thing your being 
in error,” answered Mr. Golyadkin junior. 

44 1 even had an idea, Yakov Petrovitch,” our candid hero 
answered in a gentlemanly way, completely failing to observe 
the horrible perfidy of his deceitful enemy; “ I even had an idea 
that here were two people oreated exactly alike. ...” 

“ Ah, is that your idea ? ” 

At this point the notoriously worthless Mr. Golyadkin took 
u phis' hat. Still failing to observe his treachery, Mr. Golyadkin 
senior, too, got up and with a noble, simple-hearted smile to 

253 



his false friend, tried in his innocence to be friendly to him, to* 
encourage him, and in that way to form a new friendship with 
him. 

“ Good-bye, your Excellency,” Mr. Golyadkin junior called 
out suddenly. Our hero started, noticing in his enemy’s face 
something positively Bacchanalian, and, solely to get rid of him, 
put two fingers into the unprincipled man’s outstretched hand ; 
but then • • . then his enemy’s shamelessness passed all 
bounds. Seizing the two fingers of Mr. Golyadkin’s hand and 
at first pressing them, the worthless fellow on the spot, before 
Mr. Golyadkin’s eyes, had the effrontery to repeat the shameful 
joke of the morning. The limit of human patience was exhausted. 

He had just hidden in his pocket the handkerchief with which 
he had wiped his fingers when Mr. Golyadkin senior recovered 
from the shock and dashed after him into the next room, into 
which his irreconcilable foe had in his usual hasty way hastened 
to decamp. As though perfectly innocent, he was standing at 
the counter eating pies, and with perfect composure, like a 
virtuous man, was making polite remarks to the German woman 
behind the counter. 

“ I can’t go into it before ladies,” thought our hero, and he, 
too, went up to the counter, so agitated that he hardly knew 
what he was doing. 

“ The tart is certainly not bad ! What do you think ? ” Mr. 
Golyadkin junior began upon his unseemly sallies again, reckoning, 
no doubt, upon Mr. Golyadkin’s infinite patience. The stout 
German, for her part, looked at both her visitors with pewtery, 
vacant-looking eyes, smiling affably and evidently not under- 
standing Russian. Our hero flushed red as fire at the words 
of the unabashed Mr. Golyadkin junior, and, unable to control 
himself, rushed at him with the evident intention of tearing him 
to pieces and finishing him off completely, but Mr. Golyadkin 
junior, in his usual mean way, was already far off ; he took 
flight, he was already on the steps. It need hardly be said 
that, after the first moment of stupefaction with which Mr. 
Golyadkin senior was naturally overcome, he recovered him- 
self and went at full speed after his insulting enemy, who had 
already got into a cab, whose driver was obviously in collu- 
sion with him. But at that very instant the stout German, 
seeing both her customers make off, shrieked and rang her bell 
with all her might. Our hero was on the point of flight, but he 
turned back, and, without asking for change, flung her money for 

254 



himself and for the shameless man who had left without paying, 
and although thus delayed he succeeded in catching up hi« 
enemy. Hanging on to the side of the cab with all the force 
bestowed on him by nature, our hero was carried for some time 
along the street, clambering upon the vehicle, while Mr. Gol- 
yadkin junior did his utmost to dislodge him. Meanwhile the 
cabman, with whip, with reins, with kicks and with shouts urged 
on his exhausted nag, who quite unexpectedly dropped into a 
gallop, biting at the bit, and kicking with his hind legs in a horrid 
way. At last our hero succeeded in climbing into the cab, 
facing his enemy and with his back to the driver, his knees 
touching the knees and his right hand clutching the very shabby 
fur collar of his depraved and exasperated foe. 

The enemies were borne along for some time in silence. Our 
hero could scarcely breathe. It was a bad road and he was 
jolted at every step and in peril of breaking his neck. Moreover, 
his exasperated foe still refused to acknowledge himself van- 
quished and was trying to shove him off into the mud. To 
complete the unpleasantness of his position the weather was 
detestable. The snow was falling in heavy flakes and doing its 
utmost to creep under the unfastened overcoat of the genuine 
Mr. Golyadkin. It was foggy and nothing could be seen. It 
was difficult to tell through what street and in what direc- 
tion they were being taken. ... It seemed to Mr. Golyadkin 
that what was happening to him was somehow familiar. One 
instant he tried to remember whether he had had a presentiment 
of it the day before, in a dream, for instance. . . . 

At last his wretchedness reached the utmost pitch of agony. 
Leaning upon his merciless opponent, he was beginning to cry 
out. But his cries died away upon his bps. . . . There was a 
moment when Mr. Golyadkin forgot everything, and made up 
his mind that all this was of no consequence and that it was all 
nothing, that it was happening in some inexplicable manner, 
and that, therefore, to protest was effort thrown away. . . . But 
suddenly and almost at the same instant that our hero was 
drawing this conclusion, an unexpected jolt gave quite a new 
turn to the affair. Mr. Golyadkin fell off the cab like a sack 
of flour and rolled on the ground, quite correctly recognizing, 
at the moment of his fall, that his excitement had been very 
inappropriate. Jumping up at last, he saw that they had 
arrived somewhere; the cab was standing in the middle of 
some courtyard, and from the first glance our hero noticed that 

255 



it was the courtyard of the house in which was Olsufy Ivano- 
vitch’s flat. At the same instant he noticed that his enemy was 
mounting the steps, probably on his way to Olsufy Ivanovitch’s. 
In indescribable misery he was about to_ pursue his enemy, but, 
fortunately for himself, prudently thought better of it. Not 
forgetting to pay the cabman, Mr. Golyadkin ran with all his 
might along the street, regardless of where he was going. The 
snow was falling heavily as before ; as before it was muggy, wet, 
and dark. Our hero did not walk, but flew, coming into collision 
with every one on the way — men, women and children, and 
himself rebounding from every one — men, women and children. 
About him and after him he heard frightened voices, squeals, 
screams. . . . But Mr. Golyadkin seemed unconscious and would 
pay no heed to anything. ... He came to himself, however, 
on Semyonovsky Bridge, and then only through succeeding in 
tripping against and upsetting two peasant women and the 
wares they were selling, and tumbling over them. 

“ That’s no matter,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, “ that can easily 
be set right,” and he felt in his pocket at once, intending to 
make up for the cakes, apples, nuts and various trifles he had 
scattered, with a rouble. Suddenly a new light dawned upon 
Mr. Golyadkin ; in his pocket he felt the letter given him in the 
morning by the clerk. Remembering that there was a tavern 
he knew close by, he ran to it without a moment’s delay, settled 
himself at a little table lighted up by a tallow candle, and, taking 
no notice of anything, regardless of the waiter who came to ask 
for his orders, broke the seal and began reading the following 
letter, which completely astounded him — 

M You noble man, who are suffering for my sake, and 
will be dear to my heart for ever ! 

“ I am suffering, I am perishing — save me ! The slanderer, 
the intriguer, notorious for the immorality of his tendencies, has 
entangled me in his snares and I am undone ! I am lost ! But 
he is abhorrent to me, while you ! . . . They have separated us, 
they have intercepted my letters to you — and all this has been 
the work of the vicious man who has taken advantage of his 
one good quality — his likeness to you. A man can always be 
plain in appearance, yet fascinate by his intelligence, his strong 
feelings and his agreeable manners. ... I am ruined ! I am 
being married against my will, and the chief part in this intrigue 
is taken by my parent, benefactor and civil councillor, Olsufy 

256 



Ivanovitch, no doubt desirous of securing me a place and rela- 
tions in well-bred society. . . . But I have made up my mind 
and I protest by all the powers bestowed on me by nature. Be 
waiting for me with a carriage at nine o'clock this evening at 
the window of Olsufy Ivanovitch’s flat. We are having another 
ball and a handsome lieutenant is coming. I will come out and 
we will fly. Moreover, there are other government offices in 
which one can be of service to one’s country. In any case, 
remember, my friend, that innocence is strong in its very inno- 
cence. Farewell. Wait with the carriage at the entrance. I 
shall throw myself into the protection of your arms at two 
o’clock in the night. 

“ Yours till death, 

“ Klara OlsufYevna.” 

After reading the letter our hero remained for some minutes 
as though petrified. In terrible anxiety, -in terrible agitation, 
white as a sheet, with the letter in his hand, he walked several 
times up and down the room; to complete the unpleasantness 
of his position, though our hero failed to observe it, he was 
at that moment the object of the exclusive attention of every 
one in the room. Probably the disorder of his attire, his unre- 
strained excitement, his walking, or rather running about the 
room, his gesticulating with both hands, perhaps some enigmatic 
words unconsciously addressed to the air, probably all this pre- 
judiced Mr. Golyadkin in the opinion of the customers, and 
even the waiter began to look at him suspiciously. Coming to 
himself, Mr. Golyadkin noticed that he was standing in the 
middle of the room and was in an almost unseemly, discourteous 
manner staring at an old man of very respectable appearance 
who, having dined and said grace before the ikon, had sat down 
again and fixed hi^ eyes upon Mr. Golyadkin. Our hero looked 
vaguely about him and noticed that every one, actually every 
one, was looking at him with a hostile and suspicious air. All 
at once a retired military man in a red collar asked loudly for 
the Police News. Mr. Golyadkin started and turned crimson : 
he happened to look down and saw that he was in such disorderly 
attire as he would not have worn even at home, much less in 
a public place. His boots, his trousers and the whole of his 
left side were covered with mud ; the trouser-strap was torn off 
hjs right foot, and his coat was even torn in many places. In 
^treme misery our hero went up to the table at which he had 
6 257 



read the letter, and saw that the attendant was coining up to 
him with a strange and impudently peremptory expression of 
face. Utterly disconcerted and crestfallen, our hero began to 
look about the table at which he was now standing. On the 
table stood a dirty plate, left there from somebody's dinner, a 
soiled table-napkin and a knife, fork and spoon that had just 
been used. “ Who has been having dinner ? ” thought our 
hero. “ Can it have been I ? Anything is possible ! I must 
have had dinner without noticing it ; what am I to do ? ” 

Raising his eyes, Mr. Golyadkin again saw beside him the 
waiter who was about to address him. 

“ How much is my bill, my lad ? ” our hero inquired, in a 
trembling voice. 

A loud laugh sounded round Mr. Golyadkin, the waiter him- 
self grinned. Mr. Golyadkin realized that he had blundered 
again, and had done something dreadfully stupid. He was 
overcome by confusion, and to avoid standing there with nothing 
to do he put his hand in his pocket to get out his handkerchief ; 
but to the indescribable amazement of himself and all surrounding 
him, he pulled out instead of his handkerchief the bottle of 
medicine which Krestyan Ivanovitch had prescribed for him 
four days earlier. “ Get the medicine at the same chemist's,” 
floated through Mr. Golyadkin ’s brain. . . . 

Suddenly he started and almost cried out in horror. A new 
light dawned. . . . The dark reddish and repulsive liquid had 
a sinister gleam to Mr. Golyadkin's eyes. . . . The bottle dropped 
from his hands and was instantly smashed. Our hero cried out 
and stepped back a pace to avoid the spilled medicine ... he 
was trembling in every limb, and drops of sweat came out 
on to his brow and temples. “ So my life is in danger ! ” Mean- 
time there was a stir, a commotion in the room; every one 
surrounded Mr. Golyadkin, every one talked to Mr. Golyadkin, 
some even caught hold of Mr. Golyadkin. But our hero was 
dumb and motionless, seeing nothing, hearing nothing, feeling 
nothing. ... At last, as though tearing himself from the place, 
he rushed out of the tavern, pushing away all and each who tried 
to detain him; almost unconscious, he got into the first cab 
that passed him and drove to his flat. 

In the entry of his flat he met Mihyeev, an attendant from the 
office, with an official envelope in his hand. 

“ I know, my good man, I know all about it,” our exhausted 
hero answered, in a weak, miserable voice; “ it's official . •” 

258 



The envelope did, in fact, contain instructions to Mr. Gol- 
yadkin, signed by Andrey Filippovitch, to give up the business 
in his hands to Ivan Semyonovitch. Taking the envelope and 
giving ten kopecks to the man, Mr. Golyadkin went into his flat 
and saw that Petrushka was collecting all his odds and ends, all 
his things into a heap, evidently intending to abandon Mr. 
Golyadkin and move to the flat of Karolina Ivanovna, who had 
enticed him to take the place of Yevstafy. 


CHAPTER XII 

Petrushka came in swaggering, with a strangely casual manner 
and an air of vulgar triumph on his face. It was evident that 
he had some idea in his head, that he felt thoroughly within his 
rights, and he looked like an unconcerned spectator — that is, as 
though he were anybody’s servant rather than Mr. Golyadkin’s. 

“ I say, you know, my good lad,” our hero began breathlessly, 
“ what time is it ? ” 

Without speaking, Petrushka went behind his partition, then 
returned, and in a rather independent tone announced that it 
was nearly half-past seven. 

“ Well, that’s all right, my lad, that’s all right. Come, you 
see, my boy . . . allow me to tell you, my good lad, that 
everything, I fancy, is at an end between us.” 

Petrushka said nothing. 

“ Well, now as everything is over between us, tell me openly, 
as a friend, where you have been.” 

“ Where I’ve been ? To see good people, sir.” 

“ I know, my good lad, I know. I have always been satisfied, 
with you, and I give you a character. . . . Well, what are you 
doing with them now 1 ” 

“ Why, sir ! You know yourself. We all know a decent 
man won’t teach you any harm.” 

“I know, my dear fellow, I know. Nowadays good people 
are rare, my lad ; prize them, my friend. Well, how r are they ? ” 

“ To be sure, they . . , Only I can’t serve you any longer, 
sir; as your honour must know.” 

“ I know, my dear fellow, I know your zeal and devotion ; 
I have seen it all, my lad, I’ve noticed it. I respect you, my 
friend. I respect a good and honest man, even though he’s 
a lackey.” 


259 



44 Why, yes, to be sure ! The likes of us, of course, as you 
know yourself, are as good as anybody. That’s so. We all 
know, sir, that there’s no getting on without a good man.” 

44 Very well, very well, my boy, I feel it. . . . Come, here’s 
your money and here’s your character. Now we'll kiss and 
say good-bye, brother. . . . Come, now, my lad, I’ll ask one 
service of you, one last service,” said Mr. Golyadkin, in a solemn 
voice. 44 You see, my dear boy, all sorts of things happen. 
Sorrow is concealed in gilded palaces, and there’s no escaping 
it. You know, my boy, I’ve always been kind to you, my 
boy.” 

Petrushka remained mute. 

44 I believe I’ve always been kind to you, my dear fellow. . . . 
Come, how much linen have we now, my dear boy ? ” 

44 Well, it’s all there. Linen shirts six, three pairs of socks ; 
four shirtfronts; flannel vests; of underlinen two sets. You 
know all that yourself. I’ve got nothing of yours, sir. ... I 
look after my master’s belongings, sir. I am like that, sir . . . 
we all know . . . and I’ve . . . never been guilty of anything 
of the sort, sir, you know yourself, sir . . .” 

“ I trust you, my lad, I trust you. I didn’t mean that, my 
friend, I didn’t mean that, you know, my lad; I tell you 
what . . .” 

44 To be sure, sir, we know that already. Why, when I used 
to be in service at General Stolbnyakov’s ... I lost the place 
through the family’s going away to Saratov . . . they’ve an 
estate there . . .” 

44 No; I didn’t mean that, my lad, I didn’t mean that; don’t 
think anything of the sort, my dear fellow . . .” 

41 To be sure. It’s easy, as you Imow yourself, sir, to take 
away the character of folks like us. And I’ve always given 
satisfaction — ministers, generals, Senators, counts — I’ve served 
them all. I’ve been at Prince Svintchatkin’s, at Colonel Pere- 
borkin’s, at General Nedobarov’s — they’ve gone away too, 
they’ve gone to their property. As we all know . . 

“ Yes, my lad, very good, my lad, very good. And now 
I’m going away, my friend. ... A different path lies before 
each man, no one can tell what road he may have to take. Come, 
my lad, put out my clothes now, lay out my uniform too . . . 
and my other trousers, my sheets, quilts and pillows . . .” 

44 Am I to pack them ail in the bag ? ” 

44 Yes, my lad, yes ; the bag, please. Who knows what may 

260 



happen to us. Come, my dear boy, you can go and find a 
carriage . . .” 

“ A carriage ? . . 

“ Yes, my lad, a carriage ; a roomy one, and take it by the 
hour. And don’t you imagine anything . . 

“ Arid are you meaning to go far away, sir ? ” 

“ I don’t know, my lad, I don’t know that either. I think 
you had better pack my feather bed too. What do you think, 
my lad ? I am relying on you, my dear fellow . . .” 

“ Is your honour setting off at once ? ” 

“ Yes, my friend, yes ! Circumstances have turned out so . . . 
so it is, my dear fellow, so it is . . .” 

“To b£ sure, sir; when we were in the regiment the same 
thing happened to the lieutenant ; they eloped from a country 
gentleman’s ...” 

“ Eloped ? . . . How ! My dear fellow ! ” 

“ Yes, sir, eloped, and they were married in another house. 
Everything was got ready beforehand. There was a hue and 
cry after them ; the late prince took their part, and so it was all 
settled . . 

“ They were married, but . . . how is it, my dear fellow. . . . 
How did you come to know, my boy ? ” 

“ Why, to be sure ! The earth is full of rumours, sir. We 
know, sir, we’ve all . . . to be sure, there’s no one without sin. 
Only I’ll tell you now, sir, let mo speak plainly and vulgarly, 
sir ; since it has come to this, I must tell you, sir ; you have an 
enemy — you’ve a rival, Bir, a powerful rival, so there . . .” 

“I know, my dear fellow, I know; you know yourself, my 
dear fellow. . . So, you see, I’m relying upon you. What are 
we to do now, my friend ! How do you advise me ? ” 

“ Well, sir, if you are in that way now, if you’ve come, so 
to say, to such a pass, sir, you’ll have to make some purchases, 
sir — say some sheets, pillows, another feather bed, a double 
one, a good quilt — here at the neighbours downstairs — she’s a 
shopkeeper, sir — she has a good fox-fur cloak, so you might look 
at it and buy it, you might have a look at it at once. You’ll 
need it now, sir; it’s a good cloak, sir, satin-lined with 
fox . . 

“ Very good, my lad, very good, I agree ; I rely upon you, I 
rely upon you entirely ; a cloak by all means, if necessary. . . . 
Only make haste, make haste ! For God’s sake make haste ! 
I’ll buy the cloak — only please make haste ! It will soon be 

261 



eight o’elock. Make haste for God’s sake, my dear lad ! 
Hurry up, my lad . . .” 

Petrushka ran to gather together a bundle of linen, pillows, 
quilt, sheets, and all sorts of odds and ends, tied them up and 
rushed headlong out of the room. Meanwhile, Mr. Golyadkin 
seized the letter once more, but he could not read it. Clutching 
his devoted head, he leaned against the wall in a state of stupe- 
faction. He could not think of anything, he could do nothing 
either, and could not even tell what was happening to him. 
At last, seeing that time was passing and neither Petrushka nor 
the fur cloak had made their appearance, Mr. Golyadkin made 
up his mind to go himself. Opening the door into the entry, 
he heard below noise, talk, disputing, scuffling. . ; . Several 
of the women of the neighbouring flats were shouting, talking 
and protesting about something — Mr. Golyadkin knew what. 
Petrushka’s voice was heard : then there was a sound of footsteps. 

“ My goodness ! They’ll bring all the world in here,** moaned 
Mr. Golyadkin, wringing his hands in despair and rushing back 
into his room. Running back into his room, he fell almost 
senseless on the sofa with his face in the pillow. After lying a 
minute in this way, he jumped up and, without waiting for 
Petrushka, he put on his goloshes, his hat and his greatcoat, 
snatched up his papers and ran headlong downstairs. 

“ Nothing is wanted, nothing, my dear fellow ! I will manage 
myself — everything myself. . I don’t need you for the time, and 
meantime, things may take a better turn, perhaps,” Mr. Gol- 
yadkin muttered to Petrushka, meeting him on the stairs ; then 
he ran out into the yard, away from the house. There was a 
faintness at his heart, he had not yet made up his mind 
what was his position, what he was to do, how he was to act in 
the present critical position. 

“ Yes, how am I to act ? Lord, have mercy on me ! And 
that all this should happen ! ” he cried out at last in despair, 
tottering along the street at random; " that all this must needs 
happen ! Why, but for this, but for just this, everything would 
have been put right ; at one stroke, at one skilful, vigorous, firm 
stroke it would have been set right. I would have my finger- 
cut off to have it set right ! And I know, indeed, how it would 
have been settled. This is how it would have been managed : 
I’d have gone on the spot . . . said how it was • . . ‘ with 
your permission, sir, I’m neither here nor there in it . . . things 
aren’t done like that,’ I would say, 4 my dear sir, things aren’t 

262 



done like that, there’s no accepting an impostor in our office : 
an impostor . . . my dear sir, is a man . . . who is worthless 
and of no service to his country. Do you understand that? 
Do you understand that, my dear sir,* I should say l That’s 
how it would be. . . . But no . . . after all, things are not like 
that . . . not a bit like that. ... I am talking nonsense, like 
a fool 1 A suicidal fool ! It’s not like that at all, you suicidal 
fool. . • . This is how things are done, though, you profligate 
man ! . . . Well, what am I to do with myself now ? Well, 
what am I going to do with myself now. What am I fit for now ? 
Come, what are you fit for now, for instance, you, Golyadkin, 
you, you worthless fellow ! Well, what now ? I must get a 
carriage; ‘hire a carriage and bring it here,* says she, ‘we shall 
get our feet wet without a carriage,’ says she. . . . And who 
could ever have thought it ! Fie, fie, my young lady ! Fie, 
fie, a young lady of virtuous behaviour ! Well, well, the girl 
we all thought so much of ! You’ve distinguished yourself, 
madam, there’s no doubt of that ! you’ve distinguished your- 
self ! . . . And it all comes from immoral education. And now 
that I’ve looked into it and seen through it all I see that it is 
due to nothing else but immorality. Instead of looking after 
her as a child . . . and the rod at times . . . they stuff her 
with sweets and dainties, and the old man is always doting over 
her : saying 4 my dear, my love, my beauty,’ saying, 1 we’ll 
marry you to a count ! ’ . . . And now she has come forward 
herself and shown her cards, as though to say that’s her little 
game ! Instead of keeping her at home as a child, they sent 
her to a boarding-school, to a French madame, an 6migr€e , a 
Madame Falbalas or something, and she learned all sorts of 
things at that Madame Falbalas’, and this is how it always 
turns out. * Come,’ says she, ‘ and be happy ! Be in a carriage,* 
she says, 4 at such a time, under the windows, and sing a senti- 
mental serenade in the Spanish style ; I await you and I know 
you love me, and we will fly together and live in a hut.* But 
the fact is it’s impossible ; since it has come to that, madam, it’s 
impossible, it is against the law to abduct an innocent, respectable 
girl from her parents’ roof without their sanction ! And, if 
you come to that, why, what for and what need is there to do 
it ? Come, she should marry a suitable person, the man marked 
out by destiny, and that would be the end of it. But I’m in 
the government service, I might lose my berth through it : I 
might be arrested for it, madam ! I tell you that ! If you 

263 



did not know it. It's that German woman’s doing. She’s at 
the bottom of it all, the witch ; she cooked the whole kettle of 
fish. For they’ve slandered a man, for they’ve invented a bit 
of womanish gossip about him, a regular performance by the 
advice of Andrey Filippovitch, that’s what it came from. Other- 
wise how could Petrushka be mixed up in it ? What has he to 
do with it ? What need for that rogue to be in it ? No, I 
cannot, madam, I cannot possibly, not on any account. . . . 
No, madam, this time you must really excuse me. It’s all your 
doing, madam, it’s not all the German’s doing, it’s not the 
witch’s doing at all, but simply yours. For the witch is a good 
woman, for the witch is not to blame in any way; it’s your 
fault, madam; it's you who are to blame, let me tell you ! I 
shall be charged with a crime through you, madam. ... A 
man might be ruined ... a man might lose sight of himself, 
and not be able to restrain himself — a wedding, indeed ! And 
how is it all going to end ? And how will it all be arranged ? 
I would give a great deal to know all that ! . . .” 

So our hero reflected in his despair. Coming to himself 
suddenly, he observed that he was standing somewhere in 
Liteyny Street. The weather was awful : it was a thaw ; snow 
and rain were falling — just as at that memorable time when 
at the dread hour of midnight all Mr. Golyadkin’s troubles had 
begun. “ This is a nice night for a journey ! ” thought Mr. 
Golyadkin, looking at the weather; “it’s death all round. . . . 
Good Lord ! Where am I to find a carriage, for instance ? I 
believe there’s something black there at the comer. We’ll see, 
we’ll investigate. . . . Lord, have mercy on us ! ” our hero went 
on, bending his weak and tottering steps in the direction in 
which he saw something that looked like a cab. 

“ No, I know what I’ll do ; I’ll go straight and fall on my 
knees, if I can, and humbly beg, saying c I put my fate in your 
hands, in the hands of my superiors ’ ; saying, ' Your Excellency, 
be a protector and a benefactor ’ ; and then I’ll say this and 
that, and explain how it is and that it is an unlawful act ; 1 Do 
not destroy me, I look upon you as my father, do not abandon 
me . . . save my dignity, my honour, my name, my reputation 
. . . and save me from a miscreant, a vicious man. . . . He’s 
another person, your Excellency, and I’m another person too ; 
he’s apart and I am myself by myself too ; I am really myself 
by myself, your Excellency; really myself by myself,* that’s what 
I shall sav. ‘ I cannot be like him. Change him, dismiss him, 

264 



give orders for him to be changed and a godless, licentious 
impersonation to be suppressed . . . that it may not be an 
example to others, your Excellency. I look upon you as a 
father * ; those in authority over us, our benefactors and pro- 
tectors, are bound, of course, to encourage such impulses. . . . 
There’s something chivalrous about it : I shall say, * I look upon 
you, my benefactor and superior, as a father, and trust my fate 
to you, and I will not say anything against it ; I put myself in 
your hands, and retire from the affair myself* . . . that's what 
I would say.” 

“ Well, my man, are you a cabman ? ” 

“ Yes 

“ I want a cab for the evening . . 

“ And does your honour want to go far ? ” 

“For the evening, for the evening; wherever I have to go, 
my man, wherever I have to go.” 

“ Does your honour want to drive out of town ? ” 

“ Yes, my friend, out of town, perhaps. I don’t quite know 
myself yet, I can’t tell you for certain, my man. Maybe you see 
it will all be settled for the best. We all know, my friend . . 

“ Yes, sir, of course we all know. Please God it may.” 

“Yes, my friend, yes; thank you, my dear fellow; come, 
what ’8 your fare, my good man ? . . .” 

“ Do you want to set off at once ? ” 

“ Yes, at once, that is, no, you must wait at a certain place. 
... A little while, not long, you’ll have to wait . . .” 

“ Well, if you hire me for the whole time, I couldn’t ask less 
than six roubles for weather like this . . .” 

“ Oh, very well, my friend; and I thank you, my dear fellow. 
So, come, you can take me now, my good man.” 

“ Get in ; allow me, I’ll put it straight a bit — now will your 
honour get in. Where shall I drive ? ” 

“ To the Ismailovsky Bridge, my friend.” 

The driver plumped down on the box, with difficulty roused 
his pair of lean nags from the trough of hay, and was setting 
off for Ismailovsky Bridge. But suddenly Mr. Golyadkin pulled 
the cord, stopped the cab, and besought him in an imploring 
voice not to drive to Ismailovsky Bridge, but to turn back to 
another street. The driver uirncd into another street, and ten 
minutes later Mr. Golyadkin’s newly hired equipage was standing 
before the house in which his Excellency had a flat. Mr. Gol- 
yadkin got out of the carriage, begged the driver to be sure to wait 

265 



and with a sinking heart ran upstairs to the third storey and 
pulled the bell ; the door was opened and our hero found himself 
in the entry of his Excellency’s flat. 

“ Is his Excellency graciously pleased to be at home ? ” said 
Mr. Golyadkin, addressing the man who opened the door. 

“ What do you want ? ” asked the servant, scrutinizing 
Mr. Golyadkin from head to foot. 

“ I, my friend ... I am Golyadkin, the titular councillor, 
Golyadkin. . . . To say . . . something or other ... to ex- 
plain . . .” 

“ You must wait ; you cannot . . .” 

“ My friend, I cannot wait ; my business is important, it’s 
business that admits of no delay . . .” 

“ But from whom have you come ? Have you brought 
papers? . . 

“ No, my friend, I am on my own account. Announce me, 
my friend, say something or other, explain. I’D reward you, 
my good man . . .” 

“ I cannot. His ExceUency is not at home, he has visitors. 
Come at ten o’clock in the morning ...” 

“ Take in my name, my good man, I can’t wait — it is impossible. 

. . . You’ll have to answer for it, my good man.” 

“ Why, go and announce him ! What’s the matter with you ; 
want to save your shoe leather ? ” said another lackey, who was 
loUing on the bench and had not uttered a word till then. 

“ Shoe leather ! I was told not to show any one up, you 
know; their time is the morning.” 

“ Announce him, have you lost your tongue ? ” 

“ I’ll announce him all right — I’ve not lost my tongue. It’s 
not my orders ; I’ve told you, it’s not my orders. Walk inside.” 

Mr. Golyadkin went into the outermost room; tlure was a 
clock on the table. He glanced at it : it was half- past eight. 
His heart ached within him. Already he wanted to turn 
back, but at that very moment the footman standing at the 
door of the next room had already booked out Mr. Golyadkin’s 
name. 

“ Oh, what lungs,” thought our hero in indescribable misery. 
“ Why, you ought to have said : 4 he has come most humbly 
and meekly to make an explanation . . . something ... be 
graciously pleased to see him.’ . . . Now the whole business is 
ruined; aD my hopes are scattered to the winds. But . . . 
however . . . never mind. . . 

266 



There was no time to think, moreover. The lackey, returning, 
Baid, “ Please walk in,” and led Mr. Golyadkin into the study. 

When our hero went in, he felt as though he were blinded, 
for he could see nothing at all. . . . But three or four figures 
seemed flitting before his eyes : “ Oh, yes, they are the visitors,” 
flashed through Mr. Golyadkin’s mind. At last our hero could 
distinguish clearly the star on the black coat of his Excellency, 
then by degrees advanced to seeing the black coat and at last 
gained the power of complete vision. . . . 

“ What is it ? ” said a familiar voice above Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ The titular councillor, Golyadkin, your Excellency.” 

“Well?” 

“ I have come to make an explanation . . 

“ How ? . . . What ? ” 

“ Why, yes. This is how it is. I’ve come for an explanation, 
your Excellency ...” 

“ But you . . . but who are you ? . . .” 

“ M — m — m — mist — er Golyadkin, your Excellency, a titular 
councillor.” 

“ Well, what is it you want ? ” 

“ Why, this is how it is, I look upon you as a father; I retire 
. . . defend me from my enemy ! . . .” 

“ What’s this ? . . ” 

“ We all know . . .” 

“ What do we all know ? ’* 

Mr. Golyadkin was silent : his chin began twitching a little. 

“Well?” 

“ I thought it was chivalrous, your Excellency. . . . ‘There’s 
something chivalrous in it/ I said, ‘ and I look upon my superior 
as a father 9 . . . this is what I thought ; * protect me, I tear . . . 
earfully . . . b . . . beg and that such imp . . . impulses 
ought ... to ... be encouraged ...” 

His Excellency turned away, our hero for some minutes 
could distinguish nothing. There was a weight on his chest. 
His breathing was laboured ; he did not know where he was 
standing. ... He felt ashamed and sad. God knows what 
followed. . . . Recovering himself, our hero noticed that his 
Excellency was talking with his guests, and seemed to be briskly 
and emphatically discussing something with them. One of the 
visitors Mr. Golyadkin recognized at once. This was Andrey 
Filippovitch ; he knew no one else ; yet there was another person 
that seemed familiar — a tall, thick-set figure, middle-aged, 

267 



possessed of very thick eyebrows and whiskers and a significant 
sharp expression. On his chest was an order and in his mouth 
a cigar. This gentleman was smoking and nodding significantly 
without taking the cigar out of his mouth, glancing from time to i 
time at Mr. Golyadkin. Mr. Golyadkin felt awkward; he turned 
away his eyes and immediately saw another very strange visitor. 
Through a door which our hero had taken for a looking-glass, 
just as he had done once before — he made his appearance — we 
know who : a very intimate friend and acquaintance of Mr. 
Golyadkin’s. Mr. Golyadkin junior had actually been till then 
in a little room close by, hurriedly writing something; now, 
apparently, he was needed — and he came in with papers under 
his arm, went up to his Excellency, and while waiting for exclu- 
sive attention to be paid him succeeded very adroitly in putting 
his spoke into the talk and consultation, taking his place a 
little behind Audrey Filippo vitch’s back and partly screening 
him from the gentleman smoking the cigar. Apparently Mr. 
Golyadkin junior took an extreme interest in the conversation, 
to which he was listening now in a gentlemanly way, nodding 
his head, fidgeting with his feet, smiling, continually looking at 
his Excellency — as it were beseeching him with his eyes to let 
him put his word in. 

“ The scoundrel,” thought Mr. Golyadkin, and involuntarily 
he took a step forward. At this moment his Excellency turned 
round, and came rather hesitatingly towards Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ Well, that’s all right, that’s all right; well, run along, now. 
I’ll look into your case, and give orders for you to be taken ...” 

At this point his Excellency glanced at the gentleman with 
the thick whiskers. The latter nodded in assent. 

Mr. Golyadkin felt and distinctly understood that they were 
taking him for something different and not looking at him in 
the proper light at all. 

“ In one way or another I must explain myself,” he thought ; 

“ I must say, * This is how it is, your Excellency/ ” 

At this point in his perplexity he dropped his eyes to the 
floor and to his great astonishment he saw a good-sized patch 
of something white on his Excellency’s boots. 

“ Can there be a hole in them ? ” thought Mr. Golyadkin. 
Mr. Golyadkin was, however, soon convinced that his Excellency’s 
boots were not split, but were only shining brilliantly — a pheno- 
menon fully explained by the fact that they were patent leather 
and highly polished. 


268 



“ It is what they call Hick ,” thought our hero; 44 the term is 
used particularly in artists’ studios ; in other places such a 
reflected light is called a rib of light.” 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin raised his eyes and saw that 
the time had come to speak, for things might easily end 
badly. . . . 

Our hero took a step forward. 

“ I say this is how it is, your Excellency,” he said, “ and 
there’s no accepting impostors nowadays.” 

His Excellency made no answer, but rang the bell violently. 
Our hero took another step forward. 

“ He is a vile, vicious man, your Excellency,” said our hero, 
beside himself and faint with terror, though he still pointed 
boldly and resolutely at his unworthy twin, who was fidgeting 
about near his Excellency. 44 I say this is how it is, and I am 
alluding to a well-known person.” 

There was a general sensation at Mr. Golyadkin’s words. 
Andrey Filippovitch and the gentleman with the cigar nodded 
their heads; his Excellency impatiently tugged at the bell to 
summon the servants. At this point Mr. Golyadkin junior 
came forward in his turn. 

“ Your Excellency,” he said, 11 1 humbly beg permission to 
speak.” There was something very resolute in Mr. Golyadkin 
junior’s voice ; everything showed that he felt himself completely 
in the right. 

" Allow me to ask you,” ho began again, anticipating his 
Excellency’s reply in his eagerness, and this time addressing 
Mr. Golyadkin; 4 4 allow me to ask you, in whose presence you 
are making this explanation ? Before whom are you standing, 
in whose room are you ? . . .” 

Mr. Golyadkin junior was in a state of extraordinary ex- 
citement, flushed and glowing with wrath and indignation; 
there were positively tears in his eyes. 

A lackey, appearing in the doorway, roared at the top of his 
voice the name of some new arrivals, the Bassavryukovs. 

“ A good aristocratic name, hailing from Little Russia,” 
thought Mr. Golyadkin, and at that moment he felt some one 
lay a very friendly hand on his back, then a second hand was 
laid on his back. Mr. Golyadkin’s infamous twin was tripping 
about in front leading the way ; and our hero saw clearly that 
he was being led to the big doors of the room. 

Just as it was at Olsufy Ivanovitch’s,” he thought, and he 

269 



found himself in the hall; Looking round, he saw beside him 
two of his Excellency’s lackeys and his twin. 

“ The greatcoat, the greatcoat, the greatcoat, the greatcoat, , 
my friend ! The greatcoat of iny best friend ! ” whispered the 
depraved man, snatching the coat from one of the servants, 
and by way of a nasty and ungentlemanly joke flinging it straight 
at Mr Golyadkin’s head. Extricating himself from under his 
coat, Mr Golyadkin distinctly heard the two lackeys snigger. 
But without listening to anything, or paying attention to it, 
he went out of the hall and found himself on the lighted stairs. 
Mr. Golyadkin junior following him. 

“ Good-bye, your Excellency ! ” he shouted after Mr. Golyadkin 
senior. 

“ Scoundrel ! ” our hero exclaimed, beside himself. 

“ Well, scoundrel, then ...” 

'* Depraved man ! . . 

“ Well, depraved man, then . . answered Mr. Golyadkin’s 
unworthy enemy, and with liis characteristic baseness he looked 
down from the top of the stairs straight into Mr. Golyadkin’s 
face as though begging him to go on. Our hero spat with 
indignation and ran out of the front door ; he was so shattered, 
so crushed, that he had nc recollection of how he got into the 
cab or who helped him in. Coming to himself, he found that he 
was being driven to Fontanka. “ To Ismailovsky Bridge, then,” 
thought Mr. Golyadkin. At this point Mr. Golyadkin tried to 
think of something else, but could not ; there was something so 
terrible that he could not explain it. . . . “ Well, never mind,” 
our hero concluded and he drove to Ismailovsky Bridge. 


CHAPTER XIII 

... It seemed as though the weather meant to change for the 
better. The snow, which had till then been coming down in 
regular clouds, began growing less and less and at last almost 
ceased. The sky became visible and here and there tiny stars 
sparkled in it. It was only wet, muddy, damp and stifling, 
especially for Mr. Golyadkin, who could hardly breathe as it 
was. His greatcoat, soaked and heavy with wet, sent a sort of 
unpleasant warm dampness all through him and weighed down 
his exhausted legs. A feverish shiver sent sharp, shooting pains 
all over him; he was in a painful cold sweat of exhaustion, so 

270 



much bo that Mr. Golyadkin even forgot to repeat at every 
suitable occasion with his characteristic firmness and resolution 
his favourite phrase that “ it all, maybe, most likely y indeed, 
might turn out for the best.** “ But all this does not matter for 
the time,” our hero repeated, still staunch and not downhearted, 
wiping from his face the cold drops that streamed in all direc- 
tions from the brim of his round hat, which was so soaked that 
it could hold no more water. Adding that all this was nothing 
so far, our hero tried to sit on a rather thick clump of wood, 
which was lying near a heap of logs in Olsufy Ivanovitch’s yard. 
Of course, it was no good thinking of Spanish serenades or silken 
ladders, but it was quite necessary to think of a modest comer, 
snug and private, if not altogether warm. He felt greatly tempted, 
we may mention in passing, by that comer in the back entry of 
Olsufy Ivanovitch’s flat in which he had once, almost at the 
beginning of this true story, stood for two hours between a cup- 
board and an old screen among all sorts of domestic odds and 
ends and useless litter. The fact is that Mr. Golyadkin had 
been standing waiting for two whole hours on this occasion in 
Olsufy Ivanovitch’s yard. But in regard to that modest and 
snug little comer there were certain drawbacks which had not 
existed before. The first drawback was the fact that it was 
probably now a marked place and that certain precautionary 
measures had been taken in regard to it since the scandal at 
Olsufy Ivanovitch’s last ball. Secondly, he had to wait for a 
signal from Klara Olsufyevna, lor there was bound to be some 
such signal, it was always a feature in such cases and, “ it didn’t 
begin with us and it won’t end with us.” 

At this point Mr. Golyadkin very appropriately remembered 
a novel he had read long ago in which the heroine, in precisely 
similar circumstances, signalled to Alfred by tying a pink ribbon 
to her window. But now, at night, in the climate of Petersburg, 
famous for its dampness and unreliability, a pink ribbon was 
hardly appropriate and, in fact, was utterly out of the question. 

11 No, it’s not a matter of silk ladders,” thought our hero, . 
14 and I had better stay here quietly and comfortably. ... I 
had better stand here.” 

And he selected a place in the yard exactly opposite the 
window, neaj a stack of firewood. Of course, many persons, 
grooms and coachmen, were continually crossing the yard, and 
there was, besides, the rumbling of wheels and the snorting of 
horses and so on ; yet it was a convenient place, whether he was 

271 



observed or not ; but now, anyway, there was the advantage of 
being to some extent in shadow, and no one could see Mr. 
Golyadkin while he himself could see everything. 

The windows were brightly lit up, there was some sort 
of ceremonious party at Olsufy Ivanovitch’s. But he could 
hear no music as yet. 

“ So it’s not a ball, but a party of some other sort,” thought 
our hero, somewhat aghast. “ Is it to-day ? ” floated the doubt 
through him. 41 Have I made a mistake in the date ? Perhaps ; 
anything is possible. . . . Yes, to be sure, anything is pos- 
sible. . . . Perhaps she wrote a letter to me yesterday, and it 
didn’t reach me, and perhaps it did not reach me because Pet- 
rushka put his spoke in, the rascal ! Or it was to-morrow in 
the letter, that is, that I . . . should do everything to-morrow, 
that is — wait with a carriage. . . 

At this point our hero turned cold all over and felt in his 
pocket for the letter, to make sure. But to his surprise the 
letter was not in his pocket. 

“ How’s this ? ” muttered Mr. Golyadkin, more dead than 
alive. “ Where did I leave it ? Then I must have lost it. That 
is the last straw ! ” he moaned at last. “ Oh, if it falls into evil 
hands ! Perhaps it has already. Good Lord ! What may it 
not lead to ! It may lead to something such that . . . Ach, 
my miserable fate ! ” At this point Mr. Golyadkin began 
trembling like a leaf at the thought that perhaps his vicious 
twin had thrown the greatcoat at him with the object of stealing 
the letter of which he had somehow got an inkling from 
Mr. Golyadkin’s enemies. 

“ What’s more, he’s stealing it,” thought our hero, 44 as 
evidence . . . but why evidence ! . . .” 

After the first shock of horror, the blood rushed to Mr. Gol- 
yadkin’s head. Moaning and gnashing his teeth, he clutched his 
burning head, sank back on his block of wood and relapsed into 
brooding. . . . But he could form no coherent thoughts. Figures 
kept flitting through his brain, incidents came back to his 
memory, now vaguely, now distinctly, the tunes of some foolish 
songs kept ringing in his ears. ... He was in great distress, 
unnatural distress ! 

44 My God, my God ! ” our hero thought, recovering himself 
a little, and suppressing a muffled sob, “ give me' fortitude in 
the immensity of my afflictions ! That I am done for, utterly 
destroyed — of that there can be no doubt, and that’s all in the 

272 



natural order of things, since it cannot be otherwise. To begin 
with, I’ve lost my berth, I’ve certainly lost it, I must have lost 
it. . . . Well, supposing things are set right somehow. Sup- 
posing I have money enough to begin with : I must have another 
lodging, furniture of some sort. ... In the first place, I shan’t 
have Petrushka. I can get on without the rascal . . . somehow, 
with help from the people of the house ; well, that will be all 
right ! I can go in and out when I like, and Petrushka won’t 
grumble at my coming in late — yes, that is so ; that’s why it’s 
a good thing to have the people in the house. . . . Well, suppos- 
ing that’s'all right ; but all that’s nothing to do with it, all that’s 
nothing to do with it.” 

At this point the thought of the real position again dawned 
upon Mr. Golyadkin’s memory. He looked round. 

” Oh, Lord, have mercy on me, have mercy on me ! What am 
I talking about ? ” he thought, growing utterly desperate and 
clutching his burning head in his hands. . . . 

“ Won’t you soon be going, sir ? ” a voice pronounced above 
Mr. Golyadkin. Our hero started ; before him stood his cabman, 
who was also drenched through and shivering; growing im- 
patient, and having nothing to do, he had thought fit to take 
a look at Mr. Golyadkin behind the woodstack. 

“ I am all right, my friend. ... I am coming soon, soon, 
very soon; you wait. . . .” 

The cabman walked away, grumbling to himself. “ What 
is he grumbling about 1 ” Mr. Golyadkin wondered through his 
tears. “ Why, I have hired him for the evening, why, I’m . . . 
within my rights now . . . that’s so ! I’ve hired him for the 
evening, and that’s the end of it. If one stands still, it's just 
the same. That's for me to decide. I am free to drive on or 
not to drivo on. And my staying here by the woodstack has 
nothing to do with the case . . . and don’t dare to say anything ; 
think, the gentleman wants to stand behind the woodstack, and 
so he’s standing behind it . . . and he is not disgracing any 
one’s honour ! That’s the fact of the matter. 

44 1 tell you what it is, madam, if you care to know. Nowa- 
days, madam, nobody lives in a hut, or anything of that sort. 
No, indeed. And in our industrial age there’s no getting on 
without morality, a fact of which you are a fatal example, 
madam. . . . You say we must get a job as a register clerk and 
live in a hut on the sea-shore. In the first place, madam, there 
ire no register clerks on the sea-shore, and in the second place 

t 273 



we can’t get a job as a register clerk. For supposing, for example, 
I send in a petition, present myself — saying a register clerk’s 
place or something of the sort . . . and defend me from my 
enemy . . . they'll tell you, madam, they’ll say, to be sure . . . 
we’ve lois of register clerks, and here you are not at Madame 
Falbalas’, where you learnt the rules of good behaviour of which 
you are such a fatal example. Good behaviour, madam, means 
staying at home, honouring your father and not thinking about 
suitors prematurely. Suitors will come in good time, madam, 
that’s so ! Of course, you are bound to have some accomplish- 
ments, such as piaying the piano sometimes, speaking French, 
history, geography, scripture and arithmetic, that’s the truth of 
it ! And that’s all you need. Cooking, too, cooking certainly 
forms part of the education of a well-behaved girl ! But as it 
is, in the first place, my fine lady, they won’t let you go, they'll 
raise a hue and cry after you, and then they’ll lock you up in 
a nunnery. How will it be then, madam ? What will you have 
me do then ? Would you have me, madam, follow the example 
of some stupid novels, and melt into tears on a neighbouring 
hillock, gazing at the cold walls of your prison house, and finally 
die, following the example of some wretched German poets and 
novelists. Is that it, madam ? But, to begin with, allow me to 
tell you, as a friend, that things are not done like that, and in the 
second place I would have given you and your parents, too, a 
good thrashing for letting you read French books; for French 
books teach you no good. There’s a poison in them ... a 
pernicious poison, madam ! Or do you imagine, allow me to 
ask you, or do you imagine that we shall elope with impunity, 
or something of that sort . . . that we shall have a hut on the 
shore of the sea and so on ; and that we shall begin billing and 
cooing and talking about our feelings, and that so we shall spend 
our lives in happiness and content ; and then there would be 
little ones — so then we shall . . . shall go to our father, the 
civil councillor, Olsufy Ivanovitch, and say, * we’ve got a little 
one, and so, on this propitious occasion remove your curse, and 
bless the couple.* No, madam, I tell you again, that’s not the 
way to do things, and for the first thing there’ll be no billing 
and cooing and please don’t reckon on it. Nowadays, madam, 
the husband is the master and a good, well-brought-up wife 
should try and please him in every way. And endearments, 
madam, are not in favour, nowadays, in our industrial age; the 
day of Jean Jacques Rousseau is over. The husband comes 

274 



home, for instance, hungry from the office, and asks, ‘ Isn’t there 
something to eat, my love, a drop of vodka to drink, a bit of 
salt fish to eat ? ’ So then, madam, you must have the vodka and 
the herring ready. Your husband will eat it with relish, and he 
won’t so much as look at you, he’ll only say ‘ Run into the kitchen, 
kitten,* he’ll say, 4 and look after the dinner, and at most, 
once a week, he 11 kiss you, even then rather indifferently. . . . 
That’s how it will be with us, my young lady ! Yes, even then 
indifferently. . . . That’s how it will be, if one considers it, ii 
it has come to one’s looking at the thing in that way. . . And 
how do I come in ? Why have you mixed me up in your 
caprices ? 4 The noble man who is suffering for your sake and 

will be dear to your heart for ever,’ and so on. But in the first 
place, madam, I am not suited to you, you know yourself, I’m 
not a great hand at compliments, I’m not fond of uttering per- 
fumed trifles for the ladies. I’m not fond of lady-killers, and I 
must own I’ve never been a beauty to look at. You won’t 
find any swagger or false sname in me, and I tell you so now in 
all sincerity. This is the fact of the matter: we can boast of 
nothing but a straightforward, open character and common 
sense ; we have nothing to do with intrigues I am not one to 
intrigue, I say so and I’m proud of it — that’s the fact of the 
matter ! . . . I wear no mask among straightforward people, 
and to tell you the whole truth . . .” 

Suddenly Mr. Golyadkin started. The red and perfectly 
sopping beard of the cabman appeared round the woodstack 
again. . ; . 

4 4 1 am coming directly, my friend. I’m coining at once, you 
know,” Mr. Golyadkin responded in a trembling and failing voice. 

The cabman scratched his head, then stroked his beard, and 
moved a step forward . . . stood still and looked suspiciously 
at Mr. Golyadkin. 

44 1 am coming directly, my friend ; you see, my friend . . . 
I . . . just a little, you see, only a second ! . . . more . . . 
here, you see, my friend. . . 

44 Aren’t you coming at all?” the cabman asked at last, 
definitely coming up to Mr. Golyadkin. 

44 No, my friend, I’m coming directly. I am waiting, you see, 
my friend. . . 

44 So I see. . . ” 

44 You see, my friend, I . . . What part of the country do 
you come from, my friend ? ” 


275 



“ We are under a master . . 

“ And have you a good master ? . . .” 

41 All right. . . ” 

" Yes, my friend ; you stay here, my friend, you see . . . 
Have you been in Petersburg long, my friend ? ” 

" It’s a year since I came. . . .” 

“ And are you getting on all right, my friend ? 99 

"Middling.” 

" To be sure, my friend, to be sure. You must thank Provi- 
dence, my friend. You must look out for straightforward people. 
Straightforward people are none too common nowadays, my 
friend; he would give you washing, food, and drink, my good 
fellow, a good man would. But sometimes you see tears shed 
for the sake of gold, my friend . . . you see a lamentable 
example; that’s the fact of the matter, my friend. . . 

The cabman seemed to feel sorry for Mr. Golyadkin. “ Well, 
your honour, I’ll wait. Will your honour be waiting long ? *’ 

" No, my friend, no ; I . . . you know ... I won’t wait 
any longer, my good man. . . . What do you think, my friend ? 
I rely upon you. I won’t stay any longer.” 

" Aren’t you going at all ? ” 

“No, my friend, no; I’ll reward you, my friend . . . that’s 
the fact of the matter. How much ought I to give you, my 
dear fellow ? ” 

" What you hired me for, please, sir. I’ve been waiting here 
a long time ; don’t be hard on a man, sir.” 

“ Well, here, my good man, here.” 

At this poiiit Mr. Golyadkin gave six whole roubles to the 
cabman, and made up his mind in earnest to waste no more 
time, that is, to clear off straight away, especially as the cabman 
was dismissed and everything was over, and so it was useless to 
wait longer. He rushed out of the yard, went out of the gate, 
turned to the left and without looking round took to his heels, 
breathless and rejoicing. “ Perhaps it will all be for the best,” 
he thought, “ and perhaps in this way I’ve run away from 
trouble.” Mr. Golyadkin suddenly became all at once light- 
hearted. “ Oh, if only it could turn out for the best ! 99 thought 
our hero, though he put little faith in his own words. " I know 
what I’ll do . . .” he thought. " No, I know, I’d better try 
the other tack. ... Or wouldn’t it be better to do this ? . . . 99 
In this way, hesitating and seeking for the solution of his doubts, 
our hero ran to Semyonovsky Bridge; but while running to 

276 



Semyonovsky Bridge he very rationally and conclusively 
decided to return. 

“ It will be better bo,” he thought. " I had better try the 
other tack, that is ... I will just go — 1*11 look on simply as 
an outsider, and that will be the end of it; I am simply an 
onlooker, an outsider — and nothing more, whatever happens — 
it’s not my fault, that’s the fact of the matter ! That’s how 
it shall be now.” 

Deciding to return, our hero actually did return, the more 
readily because with this happy thought he conceived of himself 
now as quite an outsider. 

“ It’s the best thing ; one’s not responsible for anything, and one 
will see all that’s necessary . . . that’s the fact of the matter ! ” 

It was a safe plan and that settled it. Reassured, he crept 
back under the peaceful shelter of his soothing and protecting 
woodstack, and began gazing intently at the window. This 
time he was not destined to gaze and wait for long. Suddenly 
a strange commotion became apparent at all the windows. 
Figures appeared, curtains were drawn back, whole groups of 
people were crowding to the windows at Olsufy Ivanovitch’s 
flat. All were peeping out looking for something in the yard. 
From the security of his woodstack, our hero, too, began with 
curiosity watching the general commotion, and with interest 
craned forward to right and to left so far as he could within the 
shadow of the woodstack. Suddenly he started, held his breath 
and almost sat down with horror. It seemed to him — in short, 
he realized, that they were looking for nothing and for nobody 
but him, Mr. Golyadkin ! Every one was looking in his direc- 
tion. It was impossible to escape; they saw him. ... In a 
flutter, Mr. Golyadkin huddled as closely as he could to the 
woodstack, and only then noticed that the treacherous shadow 
had betrayed him, that it did not cover him completely. Our 
hero would have been delighted at that moment to creep into 
a mouse-hole in the woodstack, and there meekly to remain, 
if only it had been possible. But it was absolutely impossible. 
In his agony he began at last staring openly and boldly at the 
windows, it was the best thing to do. . . . And suddenly he 
glowed with shame. He had been fully discovered, every one 
was staring at him at once, they were all waving their hands, 
all were nodding their heads at him, all were calling to him; 
then several windows creaked as they opened, several voices 
shouted something to him at once. . 

277 



“I wonder why they don’t whip these naughty girls as 
children,” our hero muttered to himself, losing his head com- 
pletely. Suddenly there ran down the steps he (we know who), 
without his hat or greatcoat, breathless, rubbing his hands, 
wriggling, capering, perfidiously displaying intense joy at seeing 
Mr. Golyadkin. 

“ Yakov Petrovitch,” whispered this individual, so notorious 
for his worthlessness, “ Yakov Petrovitch, are you here ? You’ll 
catch cold. It’s chilly here, Yakov Petrovitch. Come indoorB. ,, 

“ Yakov Petrovitch ! No, I’m all right, Yakov Petrovitch,” 
our hero muttered in a submissive voice. 

“ No, this won’t do, Yakov Petrovitch, I beg you, I humbly 
beg you to wait with us. 4 Make him welcome and bring him 
in,’ they say, ‘Yakov Petrovitch.’” 

“ No, Yakot Petrovitch, you see, I’d better. ... I had better 
go home, Yakov Petrovitch ...” said our hero, burning at a 
slow fire and freezing at the same time with shame and terror. 

‘‘No — no — no — no!” whispered the loathsome person. 
“ No — no — no, on no account ! Come along,” he said resolutely, 
and he dragged Mr. Golyadkin senior to the steps. Mr. Golyadkin 
senior did not at all want to go, but as every one was looking 
at them, it would have been stupid to struggle and resist; so 
our hero went — though, indeed, one cannot say that he went, 
because he did not know in the least what was being done with 
him. Though, after all, it made no difference ! 

Before our hero had time to recover himself and come to his 
senses, he found himself in the drawing-room. He was pale, 
dishevelled, harassed ; with lustreless eyes he scanned the 
crowd — horror ! The drawing-room, all the rooms — were full 
to overflowing. There were masses of people, a whole galaxy 
of ladies ; and all were crowding round Mr. Golyadkin, all were 
pressing towards Mr. Golyadkin, all were squeezing Mr. Golyadkin 
and he perceived clearly that they were all forcing him in one 
direction. 

“ Not towards the door,” was the thought that floated through 
Mr. Golyadkin’s mind. 

They were, in fact, forcing him not towards the door but 
Olsufy Ivanovitch’s easy chair. On one side of the armchair 
stood Klara Olsufyevna, pale, languid, melancholy, but gor- 
geously dressed. Mr. Golyadkin was particularly struck by 
a little white flower which rested on her superb hair. On the 
other side of the armchair stood Vladimir Semyonovitch, clad 

278 



in black, with his new order in his buttonhole. Mr. Golyadkin 
was led in, as we have described above, straight up to Olsufy 
Ivanovitch — on one side of him Mr. Golyadkin junior, who had 
assumed an air of great decorum and propriety, to the immense 
relief of our hero, while on the other side was Andrey Filippo- 
vitch, with a verv solemn expression on his face. 

“ What can it mean ? ” Mr. Golyadkin wondered. 

When he saw that he was being led to Olsufy Ivanovitch, an 
idea struck him like a flash of lightning. The thought of the' 
intercepted letter darted through his brain. In great agony 
our hero stood before Olsufy Ivanovitch’s chair. 

“ What will he say now ? ” he wondered to himself. “ Of 
course, *it will be all aboveboard now, that is, straightforward 
and, one may say, honourable; I shall sav this is how it is, 
and so on.” 

But what our hero apparently feared did not happen. Olsufy 
Ivanovitch received Mr. Golyadkin very warmly, and though 
he did not hold out his hand to him, yet as he gazed at our hero, 
he shook his grey and venerable head — shook it with an air of 
solemn melancholy and yet of goodwill. So, at least, it seemed 
to Mr. Golyadkin. He even fancied that a tear glittered in 
Oteufy Ivanovitch’s lustreless eyes ; he raised his eyes and saw 
that there seemed to be tears, too, on the eyelashes of Klara 
Olsufyevna, who was standing by — that there seemed to be 
something of the same sort even in the eyes of Vladimir Semyono- 
vitch — that the unruffled and composed dignity of Andrey 
Filippo vitch had the same significance as the general tearful 
sympathy — that even the young man who was so much like a 
civil councillor, seizing the opportunity, was sobbing bitterly. . . . 
Though perhaps this was only all Mr. Golyadkin's fancy, because 
he was so much moved himself, and distinctly felt the hot tears 
running down his cold checks. . . . 

Feeling reconciled with mankind and his destiny, and filled 
with love at the moment, not only for Olsufy Ivanovitch, not 
only for the whole party collected there, but even for his noxious 
twin (who seemed now to be by no means noxious, and not even 
to be his twin at all, but a person very agreeable in himself and 
in no way connected with him), our hero, in a voice broken with 
sobs,, tried to express his feelings to Olsufy Ivanovitch, but was 
too much overcome by all that he had gone through, and could 
.not utter a word; he could only, with an expressive gesture, 
point meekly to hi3 heart. • • 


279 



At last, probably to spare the feelings of the old man, Andrey 
Filippovitch led Mr. Golyadkin a little away, though he seemed 
to leave him free to do as he liked. Smiling, muttering some- 
thing to himself, somewhat bewildered, yet almost completely 
reconciled with fate and his fellow creatures, our hero began to 
make his way through the crowd of guests. Every one made 
way for him, every one looked at him with strange curiosity 
and with mysterious, unaccountable sympathy. Our hero went 
into another room ; he met with the same attention everywhere ; 
he was vaguely conscious of the whole crowd closely following 
him, noting every step he took, talking in undertones among 
themselves of something very interesting, shaking their heads, 
arguing and discussing in whispers. Mr. Golyadkin wanted 
very much to know what they were discussing in whispers. 
Looking round, he saw near him Mr. Golyadkin junior. Feeling 
an overwhelming impulse to seize his hand and draw him aside, 
Mr. Golyadkin begged the other Yakov Petrovitch most par- 
ticularly to co-operate with him in all his future undertakings, 
and not to abandon him at a critical moment. Mr. Golyadkin 
junior nodded his head gravely and warmly pressed the hand 
of Mr. Golyadkin senior. Our hero’s heart was quivering with 
the intensity of his emotion. He was gasping for breath, how- 
ever ; he felt so oppressed — so oppressed ; he felt that all those 
eyes fastened upon him were oppressing and dominating him. . . . 
Mr. Golyadkin caught a glimpse of the councillor who wore a wig. 
The latter was looking at him with a stern, searching eye, not 
in the least softened by the general sympathy. . . . 

Our hero ihade up his mind to go straight up to him in order 
to. smile at him and have an immediate explanation, but this 
somehow did not come off. For one instant Mr. Golyadkin 
became almost unconscious, almost lost all memory, all feeling. 

When he came to himself again he noticed that he was the 
centre of a large ring formed by the rest of the party round him. 
Suddenly Mr. Golyadkin’s name was called from the other room ; 
the shout was at once taken up by the whole crowd. All was 
noise and excitement, all rushed to the door of the first room, 
almost carrying our hero along with them. In the crush the 
hard-hearted councillor in the wig was side by side with Mr. 
Golyadkin, and, taking oui hero by the hand, he made him sit 
down beside him opposite Olsufy Ivanovitch, at some distance 
from the latter, however. Every one in the room sat down; 
the guests were arranged in rows round Mr. Golyadkin and 

280 



Olsufy Ivanovitch. Everything was hushed; every one pre- 
served a solemn silence ; every one was watching Olsufy Ivano- 
vitch, evidently expecting something out of the ordinary. Mr. 
Golyadkin noticed that beside Olsufy Ivanovitch’s chair and 
directly facing the councillor sat Mr. Golyadkin junior, with 
Andrey Filippovitcli. The silence was prolonged; they were 
evidently expecting something. 

“ Just as it is in a family when some one is setting off on a far 
journey. We’ve only to stand up and pray now,” thought 
our hero. 

Suddenly there was a general stir which interrupted Mr. 
Golyadkin’s reflections. Something they had long been waiting 
for happened. 

“ He is coming, he is coming ! ” passed from one to another 
in the crowd. 

“ Who is it that is coming ? ” floated through Mr. Golyadkin’s 
mind, and he shuddered at a strange sensation. “ High time 
too ! ” said the councillor, looking intently at Andrey Filippo vitch. 
Andrey Filippo vitch, for his part, glanced at Olsufy Ivanovitch. 
Olsufy Ivanovitch gravely and solemnly nodded his head. 

“ Let us stand up,” said the councillor, and he made Mr. 
Golyadkin get up. All rose to their feet. Then the councillor 
took Mr. Golyadkin senior by the hand, and Andrey Filippo vitch 
took Mr. Golyadkin Junior, and in this way these two precisely 
similar persons were conducted through the expectant crowd 
surrounding them. Our hero looked about him in perplexity; 
but he was at once. checked and his attention was called to Mr. 
Golyadkin junior, who was holding out his hand to him. 

“ They want to reconcile us,” thought our hero, and with 
emotion he held out his hand to Mr. Golyadkin junior ; and then — 
then bent his head forward towards him. The other Mr. 
Golyadkin did the same. . . . 

At this point it seemed to Mr. Golyadkin senior that his 
perfidious friend was smiling, that he gave a sly, hurried wink 
to the crowd of onlookers, and that there was something sinister 
in the face of the worthless Mr. Golyadkin junior, that he even 
made a grimace at the moment of his Judas kiss. . . . 

There was a ringing in Mr. Golyadkin’s ears, and a darkness 
before his eyes; it seemed to him that an infinite multitude, 
an unending series of precisely similar Golyadkins were noisily 
bursting in at every door of the room ; but it was too late . . . 
the resounding, treacherous kiss was over, and . , . 

281 



Then quite an unexpected event occurred. . . . The dooi 
opened noisily, and in the doorway stood a man, the very sight 
of whom sent a chill to Mr. Golyadkin’s heart. He stood rooted 
to the Bpot. A cry of horror died away in hifl choking throat. 
Yet Mr. Golyadkin knew it all beforehand, and had had a 
presentiment of something of the sort for a long time. The 
new arrival went up to Mr. Golyadkin gravely and solemnly. 
Mr. Golyadkin knew this personage very well. He had seen him 
before, had seen him very often, had seen him that day. . . . 
This personage was a tall, thick-set man in a black dress-coat 
with a good-sized cross on his breast, and was possessed of thick, 
very black whiskers ; nothing was lacking but the cigar in the 
mouth to complete the picture. Yet this person’s eyes, as we 
have mentioned already, sent a chill to the heart of Mr. Golyadkin. 
With a grave and solemn air this terrible man approached the 
pitiable hero of our story. . . . Our hero held out his hand to 
him; the stranger took his hand and drew him along with 
him. . . . With a crushed and desperate air our hero looked 
about him. 

“ It’s . . . it’s Krestyan Ivanovitcb Rutenspilz, doctor of 
medicine and surgery; your old acquaintance, Yakov Petro- 
vitch 1 99 a detestable voice whispered in Mr. Golyadkin’s ear. 
He looked round : it was Mr. Golyadkin’s twin, so revolting in 
the despicable meanness of his soul. A malicious, indecent joy 
shone in his countenance; he was rubbing his hands with 
rapture, he was turning his head from side to side in ecstasy, he 
was fawning round every one in delight and seemed ready to 
dance with glee. At last he pranced forward, took a candle 
from one of the servants and walked in front, showing the way to 
Mr. Golyadkin and Krestyan Ivanovitch. Mr. Golyadkin heard 
the whole party in the drawing-room rush out after him, crowding 
and squeezing one another, and all beginning to repeat after 
Mr. Golyadkin himself, “ It is all right, don’t be afraid, Yakov 
Petrovitcu ; this is your old friend and acquaintance, you know, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch Rutenspilz. . ” 

At last they came out on the brightly lighted stairs ; there 
was a crowd of people on the stairs too. The front door w r as 
thrown open noisily, and Mr. Golyadkin found himself on the 
steps, together with Krestyan Ivanovitch. At the entrance stood 
a carriage with four horses that were snorting with impatience. 
The malignant Mr, Golyadkin junior in three bounds flew down 
the stairs and opened the carriage door himself. Krestyan 

282 



Ivanovitch, with an impressive gesture, asked Mr. Golyadkin to 
get in: There was no need of the impressive gesture, however ; 
there were plenty of people to help him in. . . . Faint with 
horror, Mr. Golyadkin looked back. The whole of the brightly 
lighted staircase was crowded with people; inquisitive eyes 
were looking at him from all sides; Olsufy Ivanovitch himself 
was sitting in his easy chair on the top landing, and watching 
all that took place with deep interest. Every one was waiting. 
A murmur of impatience passed through the crowd when Mr. 
Golyadkin looked back. 

“ I hope I have done nothing . . . nothing reprehensible . . . 
or that can call for severity . . . and general attention in regard 
to my official relations/’ our hero brought out in desperation. 
A clamour of talk rose all round him, all were shaking their 
heads, tears started from Mr. Golyadkin’s eyes. 

“ In that case I’m ready. ... I have full confidence . . . 
and I entrust my fate to Krestyan Ivanovitch. . . .” 

No sooner had Mr. Golyadkin declared that he entrusted his 
fate to Krestyan Ivanovitch than a dreadful, deafening shout of 
joy came from all surrounding him and was repeated in a sinister 
echo through the whole pf the waiting crowd. Then Krestyan 
Ivanovitch on one side and Andrey Filippovitch on the other 
helped Mr. Golyadkin into the carriage ; his double, in his usual 
nasty way, was helping to get him in from behind. The unhappy 
Mr. Golyadkin senior took his last look on all and everything, 
and, shivering like a kitten that has been drenched with cold 
water — if the comparison may be permitted — got into the 
carriage. Krestyan Ivanovitch followed him in immediately. 
The carriage door slammed. There was a swish of the whip on 
the horses’ backs ... the horses started off. . . . The crowd 
dashed after Mr. Golyadkin. The shrill, furious shouts of his 
enemies pursued him by way of good wishes for his journey. For 
some time several persons were still running by the carriage that 
bore away Mr. Golyadkin ; but by degrees they were left behind, 
till at last they had all disappeared. Mr. Golyadkin’s un- 
worthy twin kept up longer than any one. With his hand 4 * in 
the trouser pockets of his green uniiorm he ran on with a satisfied 
air, skipping first to one and then to the other side of the carriage, 
sometimes catching hold of the window-frame and hanging on 
by it, poking his head in at the window, and throwing farewell 
kisses to Mr. Golyadkin. But he began to get tired, he was 
less and less often to be seen, and at last vanished altogether. 

283 



There was a dull ache in Mr. Golyadkin’s heart ; a hot rush of 
blood set Mr. Golyadkin’s head throbbing; he felt stifled, he 
longed to unbutton himself — to bare his breast, to cover it 
with snow and pour cold water on it. He sank at last into 
forgetfulness. . . . 

When he oame to himself, he saw that the horses were taking 
him along an unfamiliar road. There were dark patches of copso 
on each side of it ; it was desolate and deserted. Suddenly he 
almost swooned ; two fiery eyes were staring at him in the dark- 
ness, and those two eyes were glittering with malignant, hellish 
glee. “ That’s not Krestyan Ivanovitch ! Who is it ? Or 
is it he? It is. It is Krestyan Ivanovitch, but not the old 
Krestyan Ivanovitch, it’s another Krestyan Ivanovitch ! It’s a 
terrible Krestyan Ivanovitch ! ” . . . 

“ Krestyan Ivanovitch, I ... I believe . . . I’m all right, 
Krestyan Ivanovitch,'* our hero was beginning timidly in a 
trembling voice, hoping by his meekness and submission to 
soften the terrible Kre3tyan Ivanovitch a little. 

“ You get free quarters, wood, with light, and service, the 
which you deserve not,” Krestyan Ivanovitch's answer rang 
out, stem and terrible as a judge’s sentence. 

Our hero shrieked and clutched his head in his hands. Alas ! 
For a long while he had been haunted by a presentiment of 
this. 


284 



A GENTLE SPIRIT 

A FANTASTIC STORY 

PART I 
CHAPTER I 

W1IO I WAS AND WHO 8HX WAS 

Oh, while she is still here, it is still all right ; I go up and look 
at her every minute ; but to-morrow they will take her away 
— and how shall I be left alone ? Now she is on the talje in 
the drawing-room, they put two card tables together, the coffin 
will be here to-morrow — white, pure white “ gros de Naples ” — 
but that’s not it . . . 

I keep walking about, trying to explain it to myself. I have 
been trying for the last six hours to get it clear, but still I can’t 
think of it all as a whole. 

The fact is, I walk to and fro, and to and fro. 

This is how it was. I will simply tell it in order. (Order !) 

Gentlemen, I am far from being a literary man and you will 
see that; but no matter, I’ll tell it as I understand it myself. 
The horror of it for me is that I understand it all ! 

It was, if you care to know, that is to take it from the begin- 
ning, that she used to come to me simply to pawn things, to 
pay for advertising in the Voice to the effect that a governess 
was quite willing to travel, to give lessons at home, and so on, 
and so on. That was at the very beginning, and I, of course, 
made no difference between her and the others : “ She comes,” 
I thought, “ like any one else,” and so on. 

But afterwards I began to see a difference. She was such a 
slender, fair little thing, rather tall, always a little awkward 
with me, as though embarrassed (1 fancy she was the same with 
all strangers, and in her eyes, of course, I was exactly like 
anybody else-— that is, not as a pawnbroker but as a man). 

As soon as she received the money she would turn round 
at once and go away. And always in silence. Other women 

285 



argue so, entreat, haggle for me to give them more; this one 
did not ask for more. . . . 

I believe I am muddling it up. 

Yes ; I was struck first of all by the things she brought : 
poor little silver gilt earrings, a trashy little locket, things not 
worth sixpence. She knew herself that they were worth next 
to nothing, but I oould see from her face that they were treasures 
to her, and I found out afterwards as a fact that they were 
all that was left her belonging to her father and mother. 

Only once I allowed myself to scoff at her things. You see I 
never allow myself to behave like that. I keep up a gentlemanly 
tone with my clients : few words, politeness and severity. 
“ Severity, severity ! ” 

But once she ventured to bring her laBt rag, that is, literally 
the remains of an oid hareskin jacket, and I could not resist 
saying something by way of a joke. My goodness ! how she 
flared up ! Her eyes were large, blue and dreamy but — how 
they blazed. But she did not drop one word ; picking up her 
“ rags ” she walked out. 

It was then for the first time I noticed her particularly , and 
thought something of the kind about her — that is, something of 
a particular kind. Yes, I remember another impression — that 
is, if you will have it, perhaps the chief impression, that summed 
up everything. It was that she was terribly young, so young 
that she looked just fourteen. And yet she was within three 
months of sixteen. I didn’t mean that, though, that wasn’t 
what summed it all up. Next day she came again. I found out 
later that she had been to Dobronravov’s and to Mozer’s with 
that jacket, but they take nothing but gold and ftould have 
nothing to say to it. I once took some stones from her (rub- 
bishy little ones) and, thinking it over afterwards, I wondered : 
I, too, only lend on gold and silver, yet from her I accepted stones. 
That was my second thought about her then ; that I remember. 
That time, that is when she came from Mozer’s, she brought an 
amber cigar-holder. It was a connoisseur's article, not bad, but, 
again, of no value to us, because we only deal in gold. As it was 
the day after her “ mutiny,” I received her sternly. Sternness 
with me takes the form of dryness. As I gave her two roubles, 
however, I could not resist saying, with a certain irritation, “ I 
only do it for you , of course ; Mozer wouldn’t take such a thing." 

The words “ for you ” I emphasized particularly, and with a 
particular implication. 


286 



I was spiteful. She flushed up again when she heard that 
“ for you,” but she did not say a word, she did not throw down 
the money, she took it— that ife poverty ! But how hotly she 
flushed ! I saw I had stung her. And when she had gone out, 
I suddenly asked myself whether my triumph over her was 
worth two roubles. He ! He ! ! He ! ! ! I remember I put that 
question to myself twice over, “ Was it worth it ? was it worth 
it i ” 

And, laughing, I inwardly answered it in the affirmative. And 
I felt very much elated. But that was not an evil feeling ; I 
said it with design, with a motive ; I wanted to test her, because 
certain ideas with regard to her had suddenly come into my 
mind. That was the third thing I thought particularly about 
her. . . . Well, it was from that time it all began. Of course, 
I tried at once to find out all her circumstances indirectly, and 
awaited her coming with a special impatience. I had a presenti- 
ment that she would come soon. When she came, I entered 
into affable conversation with her, speaking with unusual polite- 
ness. I have not been badly brought up and have manners. 
H’m. It was then I guessed that she was soft-hearted and gentle. 

The gentle and soft-hearted do not resist long, and though they 
are by no means very ready to reveal themselves, they do not 
know how to escape from a conversation ; they are niggardly in 
their answers, but they do answer, and the more readily the 
longer you go on. Only, on your side you must not flag, if you 
want them to talk. I need hardly say that she did not explain 
anything to me then. About the Voice and all that I found 
out afterwards. She was at that time spending her last farthing 
on advertising, haughtily at first, of course. “ A governess 
prepared to travel and will send terms on application,” but, 
later on : “ willing to do anything, to teach, to be a companion, 
to be a housekeeper, to wait on an invalid, plain sewing, and so 
on, and so on,” the usual thing ! Of course, all this was added 
to the advertisement a bit at a time, and finally, when she was 
reduced to despair, it came to : “ without salary in return for 
board.” No, she could not find a situation. I made up my 
mind then to test her for the last time. I suddenly took up 
the Voice of the day and showed her an advertisement. 
M A young person, without friends and relations, seeks a situation 
as a governess to young children, preferably in the family of 
n)iddle-aged widower. Might be a comfort in the home.” 

“ Look here how this lady has advertised this morning, and 

287 



by the evening she will certainly have found a situation. That's 
the way to advertise." 

Again she flushed crimson and her eyes blazed, she turned 
round and went straight out. I was very much pleased, though 
by that time I felt sure of everything and had no apprehen- 
sions ; nobody will take her cigar-holders, I thought. Besides, she 
has got rid of them all. And so it was, two days later, she me 
in again, such a pale little creature, all agitation— I saw that 
something had happened to her at home, and something really 
had. I will explain directly what had happened, but now I 
only want to recall how I did something chic , and rose in her 
opinion. I suddenly decided to do it. The fact is she was 
pawning the ikon (she had brought herself to pawn it !) . 

Ah, listen ! listen ! This is the beginning now, I’ve been in a 
muddle. You see I want to recall all this, every detail, every 
little point. I want to bring them all together and look at them 
as a whole and — I cannot. . . . It’s these little things, these 
little things. ... It was an ikon of the Madonna. A Madonna 
with the Babe, an old-fashioneu, homely c ne, and the setting 
was silver gilt, worth — well, six roubles, perhaps. I could see 
the ikon was precious to her; she was pawning it whole, not 
taking it out of the setting. I said to her — 

“ You had better take it out of the setting, and take the ikon 
home ; for it’s not the thing to pawn.” 

“ Why, are you forbidden to take them ? ” 

“ No, it’s not that we are forbidden, but you might, perhaps, 
yourself . . 

“ W T ell, take it out.” 

“ I tell you what. I will not take it out, but I’ll set it here in 
the shrine with the other ikons,” I said, on reflection. “ Under 
the little lamp ” (I always had the lamp burning as soon as the 
shop was opened), “ and you simply take ten roubles.” 

“ Don’t give me ten roubles. I only want five ; I shall certainly 
redeem it.” 

“ You don’t want ten? The ikon’s worth it,” I added, 
noticing that her eyes flashed again. 

She was silent. I brought out five roubles. 

“ Don’t despise any one ; I’ve been in such straits myself ; 
and worse too, and that you see me here in this business ... is 
owing to what I’ve been through in the past. . . .” 

“ You’re revenging yourself on the world ? Yes ? ” she 
interrupted suddenly with rather sarcastic mockery, which, 

288 



however, was to a great extent innocent (that is, it was general, 
because certainly at that time she did not distinguish me from 
others, so that she said it almost without malice). 

.“Aha,” thought I; “so that's what you're like. You’ve 
got character; you belong to the new movement.” 

“ You see ! ” I remarked at once, half-jestingly, half-mys- 
tertoc ly, 14 1 am part of that part of the Whole that seeks to do 
ill, but does good. . . .” 

Quickly and with great curiosity, in which, however, there 
was something very childlike, she looked at me. 

‘'-Stay . . . what’s that idea? Where does it come from? 
I’ve heard it somewhere ...” 

“ Don’t rack your brains. In those words Mephistopholes 
introduces himself to Faust. Have you read Faust ? ” 

“ Not . . . not attentively.” 

“ That is, you have not read it at all. You must read it. But 
I see an ironical look in your face again. Please don’t imagine 
that I've so little taste as to try to use Mephistopheles to commend 
mj sfclf to you and grace the role of pawnbroker. A pawnbroker 
will still be a pawnbroker. We know.” 

You’re so strange ... I didn’t mean to say anything of 
that sort.” 

She meant to say : " I didn’t expect to find you were an educated 
man ” ; but she didn’t say it ; I knew, though, that she thought 
that. I had pleased her very much. 

“ You see,” I observed, “ One may do good in any calling — 
I’m not speaking of myself, of course. Let us grant that I’m 
doing nothing but harm, yet. ...” 

“ Of course, one can do good in every position,” she said, 
glancing at me with a rapid, profound look. “ Yes, in any 
position,” she added suddenly. 

Oh, I remember, I remember all those moments ! And I 
want to add, too, that when such young creatures, such sweet 
young creatures want to say something so clever and profound, 
they show at once so truthfully and naively in their faces, “ Here 
I am saying something clever and profound now ” — and that is 
not from vanity, as it is with any one like me, but one sees that 
she appreciates it awfully herself, and believes in it, and thinks 
a lot of it, and imagines that you think a lot of all that, just as 
she does. Oh, truthfulness ! it’s by that they conquer us. 
Spw exquisite it was in her ! 

' x lemember it, I have forgotten nothing ! As soon as she had 

u 2&0 



gone, I made up my mind. That same day I made my last 
investigations and found out every detail of her position at the 
moment; every detail of her past I had learned already from 
Lukerya, at that time a servant in the family, whom I had bribed 
a few days before This position was so awful that I can't 
understand how she could laugh as she had done that day and 
feel interest in the words of Mephistopheles, when she was in 
such horrible straits. But — that’s youth ! That is just what 
I thought about her at the time with pride and joy ; for, you 
know, there’s a greatness of soul in it — to be able to say, “ Though 
I am on the edge of the abyss, yet Goethe’s grand words are 
radiant with light.' 9 Youth always has some greatness of soul, 
if it’s only a spark and that distorted. Though it’s of her I am 
speaking, of her alone. And, above all, I looked upon her then 
as mine and did not doubt of my power. You know that’s 
a voluptuous idea when you feel no douht of it. 

But what is the matter with me ? If I go on like this, when 
shall I put it all together and look at it as a whole. I must make 
haste, make haste — that is not what matters, oh, my God 1 


CHAPTER H 

THE OFFER OF MARRIAGE 

The “ details ” I learned about her I will tell in one word : her 
father and mother were dead, they had died three years before, 
and she had been left with two disreputable aunts: though 
it is saying too little to call them disreputable. One aunt was 
a widow with a large family (six children, one smaller than 
another), the other a horrid old maid. Both were horrid. Her 
father was in the service, but only as a copying clerk, and was 
only a gentleman by courtesy; in fact, everything was in my 
favour. I came as though from a higher world ; I was anyway 
a retired lieutenant of a brilliant regiment, a gentleman by birth, 
independent and all the rest of it, and as for my pawnbroker’s 
shop, her aunts could only have looked on that with respect. 
She had been living in slavery at her aunts’ for those three years : 
yet she had managed to pass an examination somewhere — she 
managed to pass it, she wrung the time for it, weighed down as 
she was by the pitiless burden of daily drudgery, and that proved 

290 



something in the way of striving for what was higher and better 
on her part ! Why, what made me want to marry her ? Never 
mind me, though ; of that later on ... As though that mat- 
tered ! — She taught her aunt’s children ; she made their clothes ; 
and towards the end not only washed the clothes, but with her 
weak chest even scrubbed the floors. To 'put it plainly, they 
used to beat her, and taunt her with eating their bread. It 
ended by their scheming to Bell her. Tfoo ! I omit the filthy 
details. She told me all about it afterwards. 

All this had been watched for a whole year by a neighbour, 
a fat shopkeeper, and not a humble one but the owner of two 
grocer’s shops. He had ill-treated two wives and now he was 
looking for a third, and so he cast his eye on her. “ She’s a 
quiet one,” he thought; “ she’s grown up in poverty, and I am 
marrying for the sake of my motherless children.” 

He really had children. He began trying to make the match 
and negotiating with the aunts. He was fifty years old, besides. 
She was aghast with horror. It was then she began coming 
so often to me to advertise in the Voice . At last she began 
begging the aunts to give her just a little time to think it over. 
They granted her that little time, but would not let her have 
more; they were always at her: “We don’t know where to 
turn to find food for ourselves, without an extra mouth to feed.” 

I had found all this out already, and the same day, after what 
had happened in the morning, I made up my mind. That evening 
the shopkeeper came, bringing with him a pound of sweets from 
the shop ; she was Bitting with him, and I called Lukerya out 
of the kitchen and told her to go and whisper to her that I was 
at the gate and wanted to say something to her without delay. 
I felt pleased with myself. And altogether I felt awfully pleased 
all that day. 

On the spot, at the gate, in the presence of Lukerya, before she 
had recovered from her amazement at my sending for her, I 
informed her that I should look upon it as an honour and hap- 
piness . . . telling her, in the next place, not to be surprised 
at the manner of my declaration and at my speaking at the gate, 
saying that I was a straightforward man and had learned the 
position of affairs. And I was not lying when I said I was 
straightforward. Well, hang it all. I did not only speak with 
propriety — that is, showing I was a man of decent breeding, 
but I spoke with originality and that was the chief thing. After 
all, is there any harm in admitting it ? I want to judge myself 

291 



and am judging myself. I must speak pro and contra, and I do. 
I remembered afterwards with enjoyment, though it was stupid, 
that I frankly declared, without the least embarrassment, that, 
in the first place, I was not particularly talented, not particularly 
intelligent, perhaps not particularly good-natured, rather a cheap 
egoist (I remember that expression, I thought of it on the way 
and was pleased with it) and that very probably there was a 
great deal that was disagreeable in me in other respects. All 
this was said with a special sort of pride — we all know how that 
sort of thing is said. Of course, I had good taste enough not to 
proceed to enlarge on my virtues after honourably enumerating 
my defects, not to say “ to make up for that I have this and that 
and the other.” I saw that she was still horribly frightened, but 
I softened nothing ; on the contrary, seeing she was frightened I 
purposely exaggerated. I told her straight out that she would 
have enough to eat, but that fine clothes, theatres, balls — she 
would have none of, at any rate not till later on, when I had 
attained my object. This severe tone was a positive delight to 
me. I added as cursorily as possible, that in adopting such a 
calling — that is, in keeping a pawnbroker’s shop, I had only one 
object, hinting there was a special circumstance . . . But I 
really had a right to say so : I really had such an aim and there 
really was such a circumstance. Wait a minute, gentlemen; 
I haife always been the first to hate this pawnbroking business, 
but in reality, though it is absurd to talk about oneself in such 
mysterious phrases, yet, you know, I was “revenging myself 
on society,”. I really was, I was, I was ! So that her gibe that 
morning at the idea of my revenging myself was unjust. That 
is, do you see, if I had said to her straight out in words : " Yes, 
I am revenging myself on society,” she would have laughed as 
she did that morning, and it would, in fact, have been absurd. 
But by indirect hints, by dropping mysterious phrases, it appeared 
that it was possible to work upon her imagination. Besides, 
I had no fears then : I knew that the fat shopkeeper was anyway 
more repulsive to her than I was, and that I, standing at the 
gate, had appeared as a deliverer. I understood that, of course. 
Oh, what is base a man understands particularly well ! But was 
it base ? How can a man judge ? Didn’t I love her even then ? 

Wait a bit : of course, I didn’t breathe a word to her of doing 
her a benefit ; the opposite, oh, quite the opposite ; I made out 
that it was I that would be under an obligation to her, not 
to me. Indeed, I said as much — I couldn’t resist saying it — 

292 



and it sounded stupid, perhaps, for I noticed a shade flit across 
her face. But altogether I won the day completely. Wait 
a bit, if I am to recall all that vileness, then I will tell of that 
worst beastliness. As I stood there what was stirring in my 
mind was, “ You are tall, a good figure, educated and — speak- 
ing without conceit — good-looking.’* That is what was at work in 
ray mind. I need hardly say that, on the spot, out there at 
the gate she said “ yes” But . . . but I ought to add : that out 
there by the gate she thought a long time before she said “ yes” 
She pondered for so long that I said to her, “ Well ? ** — and could 
not even refrain from asking it with a certain swagger. 

“ Wait a little. I’m thinking.” 

And her little face was so serious, so serious that even then 
I might have read it ! And I was mortified : " Can she be 
choosing between me and the grocer ! ” I thought. Oh, I did 
not understand then ! I did not understand anything, anything, 
then ! I did not understand till to-day ! I remember Lukerya 
ran after me as I was going away, stopped me on the road and 
said, breathlessly : “ God will reward you, sir, for taking our 
dear young lady ; only don’t speak of that to her — she’s proud.” 

Pioud, is she ! “ I like proud people,” I thought. Proud people 
aro particularly nice when . . . well, when one has no doubt 
of one’s power over them, eh 1 Oh, base, tactless man ! Oh, 
how pleased I was ! You know, when she was standing there 
at the gate, hesitating whether to say u yes ” to me, and I was 
wondering at it, you know, Bhe may have had some such thought 
as this : “ If it is to be misery either way, isn’t it best to choose 
the very worst ” — that is, let the fat grocer beat her to death 
when he was drunk ! Eh ! what do you think, could there have 
been a thought like that ? 

And, indeed, I don’t understand it now, I don’t understand it 
at all, even now. I have only just said that she may have had 
that thought : of two evils choose the worst — that is, the grocer. 
But which was the worst for her then — the grocer or I ? The 
grocer or the pawnbroker who quoted Goethe ? That’s another 
question ! What a question ! And even that you don’t under- 
stand : the answer is lying on the table and you call it a question ! 
Never mind me, though. It’s not a question of me at all . . . 
and, by the way, what is there left for me now — whether it’s 
a question of me or whether it is not ? That’s what I am utterly 
Unable to answer. I had better go to bed. My head aches. . • • 

293 



CHAPTER m 

THE NOBLEST OF MEN, THOUGH I DON’T BELIEVE IT MTSELV 

I could not sleep. And how should I? There is a pulse 
throbbing in my head. One longs to master it all, all that 
degradation. Oh, the degradation ! Oh, what degradation I 
dragged her out of then ! Of course, she must have realized 
that, she must have appreciated my action ! I was pleased, too, 
by various thoughts — for instance, the reflection that I was forty- 
one and she was only sixteen. That fascinated me, that feeling 
of inequality was very sweet, waB very sweet. 

I wanted, for instance, to have a wedding a Vanglaise , that is 
only the two of us, with just the two necessary witnesses, one 
of them Lukerya, and from the wedding straight to the train to 
Moscow (I happened to have business there, by the way), and then 
a fortnight at the hotel. She opposed it, she would not have it, 
and I had to visit her aunts and treat them with respect as though 
they were relations from whom I was taking her. I gave way, 
and all befitting respect was paid the aunts. I even made the 
creatures a present of a hundred roubles each and promised 
them more — not telling her anything about it, of course, that 
I might not make her feel humiliated by the lowness of her 
surroundings. The aunts were as soft as silk at once. There 
was a wrangle about the trousseau too; she had nothing, 
almost literally, but she did not want to have anything. I 
.mcceeded in proving to her, though, that she must have 
something, and I made up the trousseau, for who would have 
given her anything? But there, enough of me. I did, how- 
ever, succeed in communicating some of my ideas to her then, 
so that she knew them anyway. I was in too great a hurry, 
perhaps. The best of it was that, from the very beginning, she 
rushed to meet me with love, greeted me with rapture, when I 
went to see her in the evening, told me in her chatter (the en- 
chanting chatter of innocence) all about her childhood and 
girlhood, her old home, her father and mother. But I poured 
cold water upon all that at once. That was my idea. I met 
her enthusiasm with silence, friendly silence, of course . . . but, 
all the same, she could quickly see that we were different and 
that I was— an enigma. And being an enigma was what I 
made a point of most of all ! Why, it was just for the sake of 
being an enigma, perhaps— that I have been guilty of all this 

294 



stupidity. The first thing was sternness— it was with an air of 
etemness that I took her into my house. In fact, as I went 
about then feeling satisfied, I framed a complete system. Oh, 
it came of itself without any effort. And it could not have been 
otherwise. I was bound to create that system owing to one 
inevitable fact — why should I libel myself, indeed ! The system 
was a genuine one. Yes, listen ; if you must judge a man, better 
judge him knowing all about it . . . listen. 

How am I to begin this, for it is very difficult. When you 
begin to justify yourself — then it is difficult. You see, for 
instance, young people despise money — I made money of 
importance at once; I laid special stress on money. And 
laid such stress on it that she became more and more Bilent. 
She opened her eyes wide, listened, gazed and said nothing. 
You see, the young are heroic, that is the good among them are 
heroic and impulsive, but they have little tolerance ; if the least 
thing is not quite right they are full of contempt. And. 1 wanted 
breadth, I wanted to instil breadth into her very heart, to make 
it part of her inmost feeling, did I not ? I’ll take a trivial 
example : how should I explain my pawnbroker’s shop to a 
character like that ? Of course, I did not speak of it directly, 
or it would have appeared that I was apologizing, and I, so to 
speak, worked it through pride, I almost spoke without words, 
and I am masterly at speaking without words. All my life I have 
spoken without words, and I have passed through whole tragedies 
on my own account without words. Why, I, too, have been 
unhappy ! I was abandoned by every one, abandoned and 
forgotten, and no one, no one knew it ! And all at once this 
sixteen-year-old girl picked up details about me from vulgar 
people and thought she knew all about me, and, meanwhile, 
what was precious remained hidden in this heart ! I went on 
being silent, with her especially I was silent, with her especially, 
right up to yesterday — why was I silent ? Because I was proud. 
I wanted her to find out for herself, without my help, and not 
from the tales of low people ; I wanted her to divine of herself 
what manner of man I was and to understand me ! Taking her 
into my house I wanted all her respect, I wanted her to be 
standing before me in homage for the sake of my sufferings — 
and I deserved it. Oh, I have always been proud, I always 
wanted all or nothing ! You see it was just because I am not 
one who will accept half a happiness, but always wanted all, that 
I was forced to act like that then : it was as much as to say, 

295 



“ See into me for yourself and appreciate me » 

expUintog myself to he, eed 


'russsisr***** • • • B-rrar^ 

Stopi^ stupid, stupid, stupid ! I explained to hep • 


m 

mthlMlvV+VJ ♦wTk™''™'V C4 “F ua81Z0 uio fact that 
ruthlessly) that the heroism of youth was charmine but— 
Orth a farthinir WK„ — * (I u .. " luun g> »ut— 


so 


two 
it 

4 Why not? Because it costs' them 

hMK because it is not gained through life ; it is, so to say, merely 
&st impressions of existence,” but just let us see you at work^ 
Carnap heroism is always easy, and even to sacrifice life is easy 
too; because it is only a case of hot blood and an overflow of 
energy, and there is such a longing for what is beautiful ! No, 
take the deed of heroism that is laborious, obscure, without noise 
or flourish, slandered, in which there is a great deal of sacrifice 
and not one grain of glory — in which you, a splendid man, are 
made to look like a scoundrel before every one, though you might 
be the most honest man in the world — you try that sort of heroism 
and you’ll soon give it up! While I — have been bearing the 
burden of that all my life. At first she argued — ough, how she 
argued — but afterwards she began to be silent, completely silent, 
in fact, only opened her eyes wide as she listened, such big, big 
eyes, so attentive. And . . . and what is more, I suddenly 
saw a smile, mistrustful, silent, an evil smile. Well, it was with 
that smile on her face I brought her into my house. It .is true 
that she had: nowhere else to go. 


CHAPTER IV 

PLANS AND PLANS 

Which of us began it first ? 

Neither. It began of itself from the very first. I have said 
that with sternness I brought her into the house. From the first 
step, however, I softened it. Before she was married it was 
explained to her that she would have to take pledges and pay 
out money, and she said nothing at the time (note that). What 
is more, she set to work with positive zeal. Well, of course, 
my lodging, my furniture all remained as before. My lodging 
oonsisted of two rooms, a large room from which the shop was 

296 



partitioned off, and a second one, also large, our living room 
and bedroom. My furniture is scanty: even her aunts had 
better things. My shrine of ikons with the lamp was in the 
outer room where the shop is; in the inner room my book- 
case with a few books in and a trunk of which I keep the key ; 
of course, there is a bed, tables and chairs. Before she was 
married I told her that one rouble a day and not more, was to 
bo spent on our board — that is, on food for me, her and Lukerya 
w hom I had enticed to come to us. “ I must have thirty 
thousand in three years,” said I, “ and we can’t save the money 
if we spend more.” She fell in with this, but I raised the sum 
by thirty kopecks a day. It was the same with the theatre. 
I told her before marriage that she would not go to the theatre, 
and yet I decided once a month to go to the theatre, and in a 
decent way, to the stalls. We went together. We went three 
times and saw The Hunt after Happiness , and Singing Birds , I 
believe. (Oh, what does it matter !) We went in silence and 
in silence we returned. Why, why, from the very beginning, 
did we take to being silent ? From the very first, you know, we 
had no quarrels, but always the same silence. She was always, 
I remember, watching me stealthily in those days ; as soon as 
I noticed it I became more silent than before. It is true that it 
was I insisted on the silence, not she. On her part there were 
one or two outbursts, she rushed to embrace me; but as these 
outbursts were hysterical, painful, and I wanted secure happi- 
ness, with respect from her, I received them coldly. And indeed, 
I was right; each time the outburst was followed next day by 
a quarrel. 

Though, again, there were no quarrels, but there was silence 
and — and on her side a more and more defiant air. “ Rebellion 
and independence,” that’s what it was, only she didn’t kpow 
how to show it. Yes, that gentle creature was becoming more 
and more defiant. Would you believe it, I was becoming 
revolting to her ? I learned that. And there cOuld be no doubt 
that she was moved to frenzy at times. Think, for instance, of 
her beginning to sniff at our poverty, after her coming from 
such sordidness and destitution — from scrubbing the floors ! 
You see, there was no poverty; there was frugality, but 
there was abundance of what was necessary, of linen, for instance, 
and the greatest cleanliness. I always used to dream that 
cleanliness in a husband attracts a wife. It was not our poverty 
she was scornful of, but my supposed miserliness in the house- 

297 



keeping : “ He has his objects/’ she seemed to say, “ he is showing 
his strength of will.” She suddenly refused to go to the 
theatre. And more and more often an ironical look. . . . And 
I was more silent, more and more silent. 

I could not begin justifying myself, could I ? What was at the 
bottom of all this was the pawnbroking business. Allow me, I 
knew that a woman, above all at sixteen, must be in complete 
subordination to a man. Women have no originality. That — that 
is an axiom ; even now, even now, for me it is an axiom ! What 
does it prove that she is lying there in the outer room ? Truth 
is truth, and even Mill is no use against it ! And a woman who 
loves, oh, a woman who loves idealizes even the vices, even the 
villanies of the man she loves. He would not himself even 
succeed in finding such justification for his villanies as she 
will find for him. That is generous but not original. It is 
the lack of originality alone that has been the ruin of women. 
And, I repeat, what is the use of your pointing to that table ? 
Why, what is there original in her being on that table ? 
O—O-Oh ! 

Listen. I was convinced of her love at that time. Why, 
she used to throw herself on my neck in those days. She loved 
me ; that is, more accurately, she wanted to love. Yes, that’s 
just what it was, she wanted to love; she was trying to love. 
And the point was that in this case there were no villanies for which 
she had to find justification. You will say, I’m a pawnbroker ; 
and every one says the same. But what if I am a pawnbroker ? 
It follows that there must be reasons since the most generous of 
men had become a pawnbroker. You see, gentlemen, there are 
ideas . . . that is, if one expresses some ideas, utters them in 
words, the effect is very stupid. The effect is to make one 
ashamed. For what reason ? For no reason. Because we are 
all wretched creatures and cannot hear the truth, or I do not 
know why. I said just now, “ the most generous of men ” — that 
is absurd, and yet that is how it was. It’s the truth, that is, the 
absolute, absolute truth ! Yes, I had the right to want to make 
myself secure and open that pawnbroker’s shop : “ You have 
rejected me, you — people, I mean — you have cast me out with 
contemptuous silence. My passionate yearning towards you you 
have met with insult all my life. Now I have the right to put 
up a wall against you, to save up that thirty thousand roubles and 
end my life somewhere in the Crimea, on the south coast, among 
the mountains and vineyards, on my own estate bought with 

298 



that thirty thousand, and above everything, far away from you 
all, living without malice against you, with an ideal in my soul, 
with a beloved woman at my heart, and a family, if God sends 
one, and — helping the inhabitants all around/ * 

Of course, it is quite right that I say this to myself now, but 
what could have been more stupid than describing all that 
aloud to her ? That was the cause of my proud silence, that’s 
why we sat in silence. For what could she have understood ? 
Sixteen years old, the earliest youth — yes, what could she have 
understood of my justification, of my sufferings ? Undeviating 
straightness, ignorance of life, the cheap convictions of youth, 
the hcn-like blindness of those “ noble hearts,” and what 
stood for most was — the pawnbroker’s shop and — enough! 
(And was I a villain in the pawnbroker’s shop ? Did not she see 
how I acted ? Did I extort too much ?) 

Oh, how awful is truth on earth ! That exquisite creature, 
that gentle spirit, that heaven — she was a tyrant, she was the 
insufferable tyrant and torture of my soul ! I should be unfair 
to myself if I didn’t say so ! You imagine I didn’t love her ? 
Who can say that I did not love her ! Do you see, it was a case 
of irony, the malignant irony of fate and nature ! We were 
under a curse, the life of men in general is under a curse ! (mine 
in particular). Of course, I understand now that I made some 
mistake ! Something went wrong. Everything was clear, my 
plan was clear as daylight : “ Austere and proud, asking for no 
moral comfort, but suffering in silence.” And that was how 
it was. I was not lying, I was not lying ! “ She will see for 

herself, later on, that it was heroic, only that she had not known 
how to see it, and when, some day, she divines it she will prize 
me ten times more and will abase herself in the dust and fold her 
hands in homage ” — that was my plan. But I forgot something 
or lost sight of it. There was something I failed to manage. 
But, enough, enough ! And whose forgiveness am I to ask 
now ? What is done is done. Be bolder, man, and have some 
pride !• It is not your fault ! . . . 

Well, I will tell the truth, I am not afraid to face the truth; 
it was her fault , her fault ! . . . 


299 



CHAPTER V 

A GENTLE SPIBIT IN REVOLT 

Quarrels began from her suddenly beginning to pay out loans 
on her own account, to price things above their worth, and even, 
on two occasions, she deigned to enter into a dispute about it 
with me. I did not agree. But then the captain’s widow 
turned up. 

This old widow brought a medallion — a present from her dead 
husband, a souvenir, of course. I lent her thirty roubles on it. 
She fell to complaining, begged me to keep the thing for her — 
of course, we do keep things. Well, in short, she came again 
to exchange it for a bracelet that was not worth eight roubles ; 
I, of course, refused. She must have guessed something from 
my wife’s eyes, anyway she came again when I was not there 
and my wife changed it for the medallion. 

Discovering it the same day, I spoke mildly but firmly and 
reasonably. She was sitting on the bed, looking at the ground 
and tapping with her right foot on the carpet (her characteristic 
movement) ; there was an ugly smile on her lips. Then, without 
raising my voice in the least, I explained calmly that the money 
was mine , that I had a right to look at life with my own eyes 
and — and that when I had offered to take her into my house, 
I had hidden nothing from her. 

She suddenly leapt up, suddenly began shaking all over and — 
what do you think — she suddenly stamped her foot at me ; it 
was a wild animal, it was a frenzy, it was the frenzy of a wild 
animal., I .was petrified with astonishment; I had never 
expected such an outburst. But I did not lose my head. I 
made no movement even, and again, in the same oalm voice, I 
announced plainly that from that time forth I should deprive 
her of the part she took in my work. She laughed in my face, 
and walked out of the house. 

The fact is, she had not the right to walk out of the house. 
Nowhere without me, such was the agreement before she was 
married. In the evening she returned; I did not utter a word. 

The next day, too, she went gut in the morning, and the day 
after again. I shut the shop and went off to her aunts. I had 
cut off all relations with them from the time of the wedding — 
I would not have them to see me, and I would not go to see them. 
But it turned out that she had not been with them. They 

300 



listened to me with curiosity and laughed in my face : “ It 
serves you right/' they said. But I expected their laughter. 
At that point, then, I bought over the younger aunt, the 
unmarried one, for a hundred roubles, giving her twenty-five 
in advance. Two days later she came to me: “ There’s 
an officer called Efimovitch mixed up in this," she said; “ a 
lieutenant who was a comrade of yours in the regiment. 1 ' 

I was greatly amazed. That Efimovitch had done me more 
harm than any one in the regiment, and about a month ago, being 
a shameless fellow, he once or twice came into the shop with a 
pretence of pawning something, and, I remember, began laughing 
with my wife. I went up at the time and told him not to dare 
to come to me, recalling our relations; but there was no 
thought of anything in my head, I simply thought that he was 
insolent. Now the aunt suddenly informed me that she had 
already appointed to see him and that the whole business had 
been arranged by a former friend of the aunt's, the widow of 
a colonel, called Yulia Samsonovna. “ It’s to her," she said, 
41 your wife goes now.” 

I will cut the story short. The business cost me three hundred 
roubles, but in a couple of days it had been arranged that I 
should stand in an adjoining room, behind closed doors, and 
listen to the first rendezvous between my wife and Efimovitch, 
Ute-a-tite. Meanwhile, the evening before, a scene, brief but 
very memorable for me, took place between us. 

She returned towards evening, sat down on the bed, looked 
at me sarcastically, and tapped on the carpet with her foot. 
Looking at her, the idea suddenly came into my mind that for 
the whole of the last month, or rather, the last fortnight, her 
character had not been her own ; one might even say that it 
had been the opposite of her own; she had suddenly shown 
herself a mutinous, aggressive creature ; I cannot say shameless, 
but regardless of decorum and eager for trouble. She went 
out of her way to stir up trouble. Her gentleness hindered 
her, though. When a girl like that rebels, however outrageously 
she may behave, one can always see that she is forcing herself 
to do it, that, she is driving herself to do it, and that it is 
impossible for her to master and overcome her own modesty 
and shamefacedness. That is why such people go such 
lengths at times, so that one can hardly believe one’s eyes. 
One who is accustomed to depravity, on the contrary, 
always softens things, acts more disgustingly, but with a 

301 



show of decorum and seemliness by which she claims to be 
superior to you. 

“ Is it true that you were turned out of the regiment beoause 
you were afraid to fight a duel ? ” she asked suddenly, apropos 
of nothing — and her eyes flashed. 

“ It is true that by the sentence of the officers I was asked 
to give up my commission, though, as a fact, I had sent in my 
papers before that.” 

“ You were turned out as a coward ? ” 

“ Yes, they sentenced me as a coward. But I refused to fight 
a duel, not from cowardice, but because I would not submit to 
their tyrannical decision and send a challenge when I did not 
consider myself insulted. You know,” I could not refrain from 
adding, “ that to resist such tyranny and to accept the con- 
sequences meant showing far more manliness than fighting any 
kind of duel.” 

I could not resist it. I dropped this phrase, as it were, in 
self-defence, and that was all she wanted, this fresh humiliation 
for me. 

She laughed maliciously. 

“ And is it true that for three years afterwards you wandered 
about the streets of Petersburg like a tramp, begging for coppers 
and spending your nights in billiard-rooms ? ” 

“ I even spent the night in Vyazemsky’s House in the Hay- 
market. Yes, it is true; there was much disgrace and de- 
gradation in my life after I left the regiment, but not moral 
degradation, because even at the time I hated what I did more 
than any one. It was only the degradation of my will and my 
mind, and it yas only caused by the desperateness of my position. 
But that is over. . , 

“ Oh, now you are a personage— a financier ! ” 

A hint at the pawnbroker’s shop. But by then I had succeeded 
in recovering my mastery of myself. I saw that she was thirsting 
for explanations that would be humiliating to me and — I did 
not give them. A customer rang the bell very opportunely, and 
I went out into the shop. An hour later, when she was dressed 
to go out, she stood still, facing me, and said — 

“You didn’t tell me anything about that, though, before 
our marriage ? ” 

I made no answer and she went away. 

And so next day I was standing in that room, the other side 
of the door, listening to hear how my fate was being decided, 

302 



and in my pocket I had a revolver. She was dressed better 
than usual and sitting at the table, and Efimovitch was showing 
off before her. And, after all, it turned out exactly (I say it to 
my credit) as I had foreseen and had assumed it would, though 
I was not conscious of having foreseen and assumed it. I do 
not know whether I express myself intelligibly. 

This is what happened. 

I listened for a whole hour. For a whole hour I was present 
at a duel between a noble, lofty woman and a worldly, corrupt, 
dense man with a crawling soul. And how, I wondered in 
amazement, how could that naive, gentle, silent girl have come 
to know all that ? The wittiest author of a society comedy could 
not have created such a scene of mockery, of naive laughter, 
and of the holy contempt of virtue for vice. And how brilliant 
her sayings, her little phrases were : what wit there was in her 
rapid answers, what truths in her condemnation. And, at the 
same time, what almost girlish simplicity. She laughed in his 
face at his declarations of love, at his gestures, at his proposals. 
Coming coarsely to the point at once, and not expecting to meet 
with opposition, he was utterly nonplussed. At first I might 
have imagined that it was simply coquetry on her part — “ the 
coquetry of a witty, though depraved creature to enhance her 
own value.” But no, the truth shone out like the sun, and to doubt 
was impossible. It was only an exaggerated and impulsive 
hatred for me that had led her, in her inexperience, to arrange 
this interview, but, when it came off — her eyes were opened at 
once. She was simply in desperate haste to mortify me, come 
what might, but though she had brought herself to do something 
so low she could not endure unseemliness. And could she, so 
pure and sinless, with an ideal in her heart, have been seduced 
by Efimovitch or any worthless snob ? On the contrary, she 
was only moved to laughter by him. All her goodness rose 
up from her soul and her indignation roused her to sarcasm. »I 
repeat, the buffoon was completely nonplussed at last and sat 
frowning, scarcely answering, so much so that I began to be 
afraid that he might dare to insult her, from a mean desire for 
revenge. And I repeat again : to my credit, I listened to that 
scene almost without surprise. I met, as it were, nothing but 
what I knew well. I had gone, as it were, on purpose to meet it, 
believing not a word of it, not a word said against her, though 
I did take the revolver in my pocket — that is the truth. And 
could I have imagined her different ? For what did I love her, 

303 



for what did I prize her, for what had I married her ? Oh, of 
course, I was quite convinced of her hate for me, but at the same 
time I was quite convinced of her sinlessness. I suddenly cut 
short the scene by opening the door. Efimovitch leapt up. 
I took her by the hand and suggested she should go home with 
me. Efimovitch recovered himself and suddenly burst into 
loud peals of laughter. 

" Oh, to sacred conjugal rights I~ offer no opposition; take her 
away, take her away ! And you know,” he shouted after me, 
“ though no decent man could fight you, yet from respect to your 
lady I am at your service ... If you are ready to risk yourself.” 

“ Do you hear ? ” I said, stopping her for a second in the 
doorway. 

After which not a word was said all the way home. I led her 
by the arm and she did not resist. On the Contrary, Bhe was 
greatly impressed, and this lasted after she got home. On reach- 
ing home she sat down in a chair and fixed her eyes upon me. 
She was extremely pale ; though her lips were compressed ironically 
yet she looked at me with solemn and austere defiance and seemed 
convinced in earnest, for the first minute, that I should kill her 
with the revolver. But I took the revolver from my pocket 
without a word and laid it on the table ! She looked at me and 
at the revolver (note that the revolver was already an object 
familiar to her. I had kept one loaded ever since I opened the 
shop. I made up my mind when I set up the shop that I would 
not keep a huge dog or a strong manservant, as Mozer does, for 
instance. My cook opens the doors to my visitors. But in 
our trade it is impossible to be without means of self-defence 
in case of emergency, and I kept a loaded revolver. In early 
days, when first she was living in my house, she took great interest 
in that revolver, and asked questions about it, and I even ex- 
plained its construction and working; I even persuaded her 
once to fire at a target. Note all that). Taking no notice of 
her frightened eyes, I lay down on the bed, half -undressed. 
I felt very much exhausted; it was by then about eleven 
o’clock. She went on sitting in the same place, not stirring, for 
another hour. Then she put out the candle and she, too, without 
undressing, lay down on the sofa near the w r all. For the first 
time she did not sleep with me — note that too. . . . 


304 



CHAPTER VI 

A TERRIBLE REMINISCENCE 

Now for a terrible reminiscence. . . . 

I woke up, I believe, before eight o’clock, and it was very 
nearly broad daylight. I woke up completely to full conscious- 
ness and opened my eyes. She was standing at the table holding 
the revolver in her hand. She did not see that. I had woken up 
and was looking at her. And suddenly I saw that she had begun 
moving towards me with the revolver in her hand. I quickly 
closed my eyes and pretended to be still asleep. 

She came up to the bed and stood over me. I heard every- 
thing; though a dead silence had fallen I heard that silence. 
All at once there was a convulsive movement and, irresistibly, 
against my will, I suddenly opened my eyes. She was looking 
straight at me, straight into my eyes, and the revolver was at my 
temple. Our eyes met. But we looked at each other for no 
more than a moment. With an effort I shut my eyes again, and 
at the same instant I resolved that I would not stir and would 
not open my eyes, whatever might be awaiting me. 

It does sometimes happen that people who are sound asleep 
suddenly open their eyes, even raise their heads for a second 
and look about the room, then, a moment later, they lay their 
heads again on the pillow unconscious, and fall asleep without 
understanding anything. When meeting her eyes and feeling 
the revolver on my forehead, I closed my eyes and remained 
motionless, as though in a deep sleep — she certainly might have 
supposed that I really was asleep, and that I had seen nothing, 
especially as it was utterly improbable that, after seeing what I 
had seen, I should shut my eyes again at such a moment. 

Yes, it was improbable. But she might guess the truth all 
the same — that thought flashed upon my mind* at once, all 
at the same instant. Oh, what a whirl of thoughts and sensa- 
tions rushed into my mind in less than a minute. Hurrah for 
the electric speed of thought ! In that case (so I felt), if she 
guessed the truth and knew that I was awake, I should crush 
her by my readiness to accept death, and her hand might tremble. 
Her determination might be shaken by a new, overwhelming 
impression. They say that people standing on a height have 
an impulse to throw themselves down. I imagine that many 
.suicides and murders have been committed simply because the 

* 305 



revolver has been taken in the hand. It is like a precipice, 
with an incline of an angle of forty-five degrees, down which 
you cannot help sliding, and something impels you irresistibly 
to pull the trigger. But the knowledge that I had seen, that I 
knew it all, and was waiting for death at her hands without a 
word — might hold her back on the incline. 

The stillness was prolonged, and all at once I felt on my temple, 
on my hair, the cold contact of the iron. You will ask : did I 
confidently expect to escape ? I will answer you as God is my 
judge : I had no hope of it, except one chance in a hundred. 
Why did I accept death ? But I will ask, what use was life to 
me after that revolver had been raised against me by the being 
I adored ? Besides, I knew with the whole strength of my being 
that there was a struggle going on between us, a fearful duel for 
life and death, the duel fought by the coward of yesterday, 
rejected by his comrades for cowardice. I knew that and she 
knew it, if only she guessed the truth that I was not asleep. 

Perhaps that was not so, perhaps I did not think that then, 
but yet it must have been so, even without conscious thought, 
because I’ve done nothing but think of it every hour of my life 
since. 

But you will ask me again : why did you not save her from 
such wickedness ? Oh ! I’ve asked myself that question a 
thousand times since — every time that, with a shiver down my 
back, I recall that second. But at that moment my soul was 
plunged in dark despair ! I was lost, I myself was lost — how 
could I save any one ? And how do you know whether I 
wanted to save any one then ? How can one tell what I could 
be feeling then ? 

My mind was in a ferment, though ; the seconds passed ; sho 
still stood over me — and suddenly I shuddered with hope ! I 
quickly opened my eyes. She was no longer in the room : I 
got out of bed : I had conquered — and she was conquered for 
ever ! 

I went to the samovar. We always had the samovar brought 
into the outer room and she always poured out the tea. I sat 
down at the table without a word and took a glass of tea from her. 
Five minutes later I looked at her. She was fearfully pale, 
even paler than the day before, and she looked at me. And 
suddenly . . . and suddenly, seeing that I was looking at her, 
she gave a pale smile with her pale lips, with a timid question 
in her eyes, “ So she still doubts and is asking herself ; does 

306 



he know or doesn't he know ; did he see, or didn’t he ? ” I 
turned my eyes away indifferently. After tea I closed the shop, 
went to the market and bought an iron bedstead and a screen. 
Returning home, I directed that the bed should be put in the 
front room and shut-off with a screen. It was a bed for her, 
but I did not say a word to her. She understood without words, 
through that bedstead, that I “ had seen and knew all,” and that 
all doubt was over. At night I left the revolver on the table, 
as I always did. At night she got into her new bed without a 
word : our marriage bond was broken, “ she was conquered but 
not forgiven.” At night she began to be delirious, and in the 
morning she had brain-fever. She was in bed for six weeks. 


PART II 
CHAPTER I 

THE DREAM OF PRIDE 

Lukerya has just announced that she can’t go on living here 
and that she is going away as soon as her lady is buried. I 
knelt down and prayed for five minutes. I wanted to pray for 
an hour, but I keep thinking and thinking, and always sick 
thoughts, and my head aches — what is the use of praying ? — it's 
only a sin ! It is strange, too, that I am not sleepy : in great, 
too great sorrow, after the first outbursts one is always sleepy. 
Men condemned to death, they say, sleep very soundly on the 
last night. And so it must be, it is the law of nature, otherwise 
their strength would not hold out. ... I lay down on the sofa 
but I did not sleep. . . . 

. . . For the six weeks of her illness we were looking after her 
day and night — Lukerya and I together with a trained nurse 
whom I had engaged from the hospital. I spared no expense- 
in fact, I was eager to spend money for her. I called in Dr. 
Shreder and paid him ten roubles a visit. When she began to 
get better I did not show myself so much. But why am I 
describing it? When she got up again, she sat quietly and 
silently in my room at a special table, which I had bought for 
her, too, about that time. . . . Yes, that’s the truth, we were 
absolutely silent ; that is, we began talking afterwards, but only 



oi the daily routine. I purposely avoided expressing myself 
out I noticed that she, too, was glad not to have to say a word 
more than was necessary. It seemed to me that this was per- 
fectly natural on her part : “ She is too much shattered, too 
completely conquered,” I thought, “ and I must let her forget 
and grow used to it.” In this way we were silent, but every 
minute I was preparing myself for the future. I thought that 
she Was too, and it was fearfully interesting to me to guess what 
she was thinking about to herself then. 

I will say more : oh ! of course, no one knows what I went 
through, moaning over her in her illness. But I stifled my moans 
in my own heart, even from Lukerya. I could not imagine, 
could not even conceive of her dying without knowing the whole 
truth. When she was out of danger and began to regain her 
health, I very quickly and completely, I remember, recovered 
my tranquillity. What is more, I made up my mind to defer 
our ftUure as long as possible, and meanwhile to leave things 
just as they were. Yes, something strange and peculiar happened 
to me then, I cannot call it anything else : I had triumphed, 
and the mere consciousness of that was enough for me. So the 
whole winter passed. Oh ! I was satisfied as I had never been 
before, and it lasted the whole winter. 

You see, there had been a terrible external circumstance in 
my life which, up till then — that is, up to the catastrophe with 
my wife — had Weighed upoiji me every day and every hour. I 
mean the loss of my reputation and my leaving the regiment. 
In two words, I was treated with tyrannical injustice. It is 
true my comrades did not love me because of my difficult char- 
acter, and perhaps because of my absurd character, though it 
often happens that what is exalted, precious and of value to one, 
for some reason amuses the herd of one’s companions. Oh, I 
was never liked, not even at school ! I was always and every- 
where disliked. Even Lukerya cannot like me. What happened 
in the regiment, though it was the result of their dislike to me, 
was in a sense accidental. I mention this because nothing is 
more mortifying and insufferable than to be ruined by an acci- 
dent, which might have happened or not have happened, from 
an unfortunate accumulation of circumstances which might 
have passed over like a cloud. For an intelligent being it is 
humiliating. This was what happened. 

In an interval, at a theatre, I went out to the refreshment bar. 
A hussar called A came in and began, before all the officers 

308 



present and the public, loudly talking to two other hussars, 
telling them that Captain Bezumtsev, of our regiment, was making 
a disgraceful scene in the passage and was, “ he believed, drunk.” 
The conversation did not go further and, indeed, it was a mistake, 
for Captain Bezumtsev was not drunk and the “ disgraceful 
scene ” was not really disgraceful. The hussars began talking 
of something else, and the matter ended there, but next day 
the story reached our regiment, and then they began saying at 
once that I was the only officer of our regiment in the refreshment 

bar at the time, and that when A the hussar, had spoken 

insolently of Captain Bezumtsev, I had not gone up to A and 

stopped him by remonstrating. But on what grounds could I 
have done so ? If he had a grudge against Bezumtsev, it was 
their personal affair and why should I interfere ? Meanwhile, 
the officers began to declare that it was not a personal affair, 
but that it concerned the regiment, and as I was the only officer 
of the regiment present I had thereby shown all the officers and 
other people in the refreshment bar that there could be officers 
in our regiment who were not over-sensitive on the score of their 
own honour and the honour of their regiment. I could not 
agree with this view. They let me know that I could set every- 
thing right if I were willing, even now, late as it was, to demand 

a formal explanation from A . I was not willing to do this, 

and as I was irritated I refused with pride. And thereupon I 
forthwith resigned my commission — that is the whole story. 
I left the regiment, proud but crushed in spirit. I was 
depressed in will and mind. Just then it was that my sister’s 
husband in Moscow squandered all our little property and my 
portion of it, which was tiny enough, but the loss of it left me 
homeless, without a farthing. I might have taken a job in a 
private business, but I did not. After wearing a distinguished 
uniform I could not take work in a railway office. And so — if 
it must be shame, let it be shame ; if it must be disgrace, let it 
be disgrace; if it must be degradation, let it be degradation — 
(the worse it is, the better) that was my choice. Then 
followed three years of gloomy memories, and even Vyazemsky’s 
House. A year and a half ago my godmother, a wealthy 
old lady, died in Moscow, and to my surprise left me three 
thousand in her will. I thought a little and immediately 
decided on my course of action. I determined on setting up 
as a pawnbroker, without apologizing to any one : money, 
then a home, as far as possible from memories of the past, 

309 



that was my plan. Nevertheless, the gloomy past and my 
ruined reputation fretted me every day, every hour. But then 
I married. Whether it was by chance or not I don’t know. 
But when I brought her into my home I thought I was bringing 
a friend, and I needed a friend so much. But I saw clearly that 
the friend must be trained, schooled, even conquered. Could I 
have explained myself straight off to a girl of sixteen with her 
prejudices? How, for instance, could I, without the chance 
help of the horrible incident ‘with the revolver, have made her 
believe I was not a coward, and that I had been unjustly accused 
of cowardice in the regiment ? But that terrible inoident came 
just in the nick of time. Standing the test of the revolver, I 
scored off all my gloomy past. And though no one knew about 
it, she knew, and for me that was everything, because she was 
everything for me, all the hope of the future that I cherished 
in my dreams ! She was the One person I had prepared for 
myself, and I needed no one else — and here she knew everything ; 
she knew, at any rate, that Bhe had been in haste to join my 
enemies against me unjustly. That thought enchanted me. 
In her eyes I could not be a scoundrel now, but at most a strange 
person, and that thought after all that had happened was by 
no means displeasing to me; strangeness is not a vice — on the 
contrary, it sometimes attracts the feminine heart. In fact, 
I purposely deferred the climax : what had happened was, 
meanwhile, enough for my peace of mind and provided a great 
number of pictures and materials for my dreams. That is what 
is wrong, that I am a dreamer : I had enough material for my 
dreams, and about her, I thought she could wait. 

So the whole winter passed in a sort of expectation. I liked 
looking at her on the sly, when she was sitting at her little table. 
She was busy at her needlework, and sometimes in the even- 
ing she read books taken from my bookcase. The choice of 
books in the bookcase must have had an influence in my favour 
too. She hardly ever went out. Just before dusk, after dinner, 
I used to take her out every day for a walk. We took a con- 
stitutional, but we were not absolutely silent, as we used to be. 
I tried, in fact, to make a show of our not being silent, but 
talking harmoniously, but as I have said already, we both 
avoided letting ourselves go. I did it purposely, I thought it 
was essential to 14 give her time.” Of course, it was strange 
that almost till the end of the winter it did not once strike me 
that, though I loved to watch her stealthily, I had never onoe t 

3 10 



all the winter, caught her glancing at me ! I thought it was 
timidity in her. Besides, she had an air of such timid gentle- 
ness, such weakness after her illness. Yes, better to wait and — 
“ she will come to you all at once of herself. . . .” 

That thought fascinated me beyond all arords. I will add one 
thing; sometimes, as it were purposely, I worked myself up 
and brought my mind and spirit to the point of believing she had 
injured me. And so it went on for some time. But my anger 
could never be very real or violent.* * .And I felt myself as though 
it were only acting. And though I had broken off our marriage 
by buying that bedstead and screen, I could never, never look 
upon her as a criminal. And not that I took a frivolous view 
of her crime, but because I had the sense to forgive her 
completely, from the very first day, even before I bought the 
bedstead. In fact, it is strange on my part, for I am strict in 
moral questions. On the contrary, in my eyes, she was so con- 
quered, so humiliated, so crushed, that sometimes I felt agonies 
of pity for her, though sometimes the thought of her humiliation 
was actually pleasing to me. The thought of our inequality 
pleased me. . . . 

I intentionally performed several acts of kindness that winter. 
I excused two debts, I gave one poor woman money without 
any pledge. And I said nothing to my wife about it, and I 
didn’t do it in order that she should know ; but the woman camo 
herself to thank me, almost on her knees. And in that way it 
became public property ; it seemed to me that she heard about 
the woman with pleasure. 

But spring was coming, it was mid-April, we took out the 
double windows and the sun began lighting up our silent room 
with its bright beams. But there was, as it were,* a veil before 
my eyes and a blindness over my mind. A fatal, terrible veil ! 
How did it happen that the scales suddenly fell from my eyes, 
and I suddenly saw and understood ? Was it a chanpe, or had 
the hour come, or did the ray of sunshine kindle a thought, a 
conjecture, in my dull mind ? No, it was not a thought, not a 
conjecture. But a chord suddenly vibrated, a feeling that had 
long been dead was stirred and came to life, flooding all my 
darkened soul and devilish pride with light. It was as though 
I had suddenly leaped up from my place. And, indeed, it 
happened suddenly and abruptly. It happened towards evening, 
at five o’clock, after dinner. . . . 



CHAPTER II 

THE VEIL SUDDENLY FALLS 

Two words first. A month ago I noticed a strange melancholy 
in her, not simply silence, but melancholy. That, too, I noticed 
suddenly. She was sitting at her work, her head bent over her 
sewing, and she did not see that I was looking at her. And it 
suddenly struck me that she had grown so delicate-looking, so 
thin, that her face was pale, her lips were while. All this, 
together with her melancholy, struck me all at once. I had 
already heard a little dry cough, especially at night. I got up 
at once and went of! to ask Shreder to come, saying nothing 
to her. 

Shreder came next day. She was very much surprised and 
looked first at Shreder and then at me. 

“ But I am well/’ she said, with an uncertain smile. 

Shreder did not examine her very carefully (these doctors 
are sometimes superciliously careless), he only said to me in 
the other room, that it was just the result of her illness, and that 
it wouldn’t be amiss to go for a trip to the sea in the spring, 
or, if that were impossible, to take a cottage out of town for the 
summer. In fact, he said nothing except that there was weak- 
ness, or something of that sort. When Shreder had gone, she 
said again, looking at me very earnestly — 

“ I am quite well, quite well.” 

But as she said this she suddenly flushed, apparently from 
shame. Apparently it was shame. Oh ! now I understand : 
she was ashamed that I was still her husband , that I was looking 
after her still as though I were a real husband. But at the time 
I did not understand and put down her blush to humility (the 
veil !). 

And so, a month later, in April, at five o’clock on a bright 
sunny day, I was sitting in the shop making up my accounts. 
Suddenly I heard her, sitting in our room, at work at her table, 
begin softly, softly . . . singing. This novelty made an over- 
whelming impression upon me, and to this day I don’t understand 
it. Till then 1 had hardly ever heard her sing, unless, perhaps, 
in those first days, when we were still able to be playful and 
practise shooting at a target. Then her voice was rather strong, 
resonant ; though not quite true it was very sweet and healthy. 
Now her little song was so faint — it was not that it was melan- 


312 



choly (it was some sort of ballad), but in her voice there was 
something jangled, broken, as though her voice were not equal 
to it, as though the song itself were sick. She sang in an under- 
tone, and suddenly, as her voice rose, it broke — such a poor 
little voice, it broke so pitifully; she cleared her throat and 
again began softly, softly singing. . . . 

My emotions will be ridiculed, but no one will understand 
why I was so moved ! No, I was still not sorry for her, it was 
still something quite different. At the beginning, for the first 
minute, at any rate, I was filled with sudden perplexity and 
terrible amazement — a terrible and strange, painful and almost 
vindictive amazement : “ She is singing, and before me; has she 
f or gotten about me ? ” 

Completely overwhelmed, I remained where I was, then I 
suddenly got up, took my hat and went Out, a3 it were, without 
thinking. At least I don't know why or where I was going. 
Lukerya began giving me my overcoat. 

“ She is singing ? ” I said to Lukerya involuntarily. She did 
not understand, and looked at me still without understanding ; 
and, Indeed, I was really unintelligible. 

“Is it the first time she is singing ? ” 

“ No, she sometimes does sing when you are out,” answered 
Lukerya. 

I remember everything. I went downstairs, went out into 
the street and walked along at random. I walked to the comer 
and began looking into the distance. People were passing by, 
they pushed against me. I did not feel it. I called a cab and 
told the man, I don’t know why, to drive to Politseysky Bridge. 
Then suddenly changed my mind and gave him twenty kopecks. 

“ That’s for my having troubled you,” I said, with a meaning- 
less laugh, but a sort of ecstasy was suddenly shining within me. 

I returned home, quickening my steps. The poor little jangled, 
broken note was ringing in my heart again. My breath failed 
me. The veil was falling, was falling from my eyes ! Since she 
sang before me, she had forgotten me — that is what was clear 
and terrible. My heart felt it. But rapture was glowing in 
my soul and it overcame my terror. 

Oh ! the irony of fate ! Why, there had been nothing else, 
and could have been nothing else but that rapture in my soul 
all the winter, but where had I been myself all that winter? 
. Had I been there together with my soul ? I ran up the stairs 
in great haste, I don’t know whether I went in timidly. I only 

313 



remember that the whole floor seemed to be rocking and I felt 
as though I were floating on a river. I went into the room. She 
was sitting in the same place as before, with her head bent over 
her sewing, but she wasn’t singing now. She looked cursorily 
and without interest at me ; it was hardly a look but just an 
habitual and indifferent movement upon somebody’s coming 
into the room. 

I went straight up and sat down beside her in a chair abruptly, 
as though I were mad. She looked at me quickly, seeming 
frightened ; I took her hand and I don't remember what I said 
to her — that is, tried to say, for I could not even speak properly. 
My voice broke and would not obey me and I did not know 
what to say. I could only gasp for breath. 

“ Let us talk . . . you know . . . tell me something ! ” I 
muttered something stupid. Oh ! how could I help being 
stupid? She started again and drew back in great alarm, 
looking at my face, but suddenly there was an expression of 
stem surprise in her eyes. Yes, surprise and stem. She looked 
at me with wide-open eyes. That sternness, that stem surprise 
shattered me at once : “ So you still expect love ? Love ? ” 
that surprise seemed to be asking, though she said nothing. 
But I read it all, I read it all. Everything within me seemed 
quivering, and I simply fell down at her feet. Yes, I grovelled 
at her feet. She jumped up quickly, but I held her forcibly 
by both hands. 

And I fully understood my despair — I understood it ! But, 
would you believe it ? ecstasy was surging up in my head so 
violently that I thought I should die. I kissed her feet in 
delirium and rapture. Yes, in immense, infinite rapture, and 
that, in spite of understanding all the hopelessness of my despair. 
I wept, said something, but could not speak. Her alarm and 
amazement were followed by some uneasy misgiving, some grave 
question, and she looked at me strangely, wildly even; she 
wanted to understand something quickly and she smiled. She 
was horribly ashamed at my kissing her feet and she drew them 
back. But I kissed the place on the floor where her foot had 
rested. She saw it and suddenly began laughing with shame 
(you know how it is when people laugh with shame). She became 
hysterioal, I saw that her hands trembled — I did not think 
about that but went on muttering that I loved her, that I would 
not get up. “ Let me kiss your dress . . . and worship you like 
this all my life,” , , , I don’t know, I don’t remember— but 

3i4 



suddenly she broke into sobs and trembled all over. A terrible 
fit of hysterics followed. I had frightened her. 

I carried her to the bed. When the attack had passed off, 
sitting on the edge of the bed, with a terribly exhausted look, she 
took my two hands and begged me to calm myself : 44 Come, 
come, don’t distress yourself, be calm ! ” and she began crying 
again. All that evening I did not leave her side. I kept telling 
her I should take her to Boulogne to bathe in the sea now, at once, 
in a fortnight, that she had such a broken voice, I had heard it 
that afternoon, that I would shut up the shop, that I would 
sell it to Dobronravov, that everything should begin afresh and, 
above all, Boulogne, Boulogne ! She listened and was still 
afraid. She grew more and more afraid. But that was not 
what mattered most for me : what mattered most to me was the 
more and more irresistible longing to fall at her feet again, and 
again to kiss and kiss the spot where her foot had rested, and to 
worship her; and — 44 1 ask nothing, nothing more of you,” I 
kept repeating, 44 do not answer me, take no notice of me, 
only let me watch you from my comer, treat me as your dog, 
your thing. . . .” She was crying. 

44 1 thought you would let me go on like that” suddenly broke 
from her unconsciously, so unconsoiously that, perhaps, she did 
not notice what she had said, and yet — oh, that was the most 
significant, momentous phrase she uttered that evening, the 
easiest for me to understand, and it stabbed my heart as though 
with a knife ! It explained everything to me, everything, but 
while she was beside me, before my eyes, I could not help hoping 
and was fearfully happy. Oh, I exhausted her fearfully that 
evening. I understood that, but I kept thinking that I should 
alter everything directly. At last, towards night, she was utterly 
exhausted . I persuaded her to go to sleep and she fell sound asleep 
at once. I expected her to be delirious, she was a little delirious, 
but very slightly. I kept getting up every minute in the night 
and going softly in my slippers to look at her. I wrung my hands 
over her, looking at that frail creature in that wretched little 
iron bedstead which I had bought her for three roubles. I knelt 
down, but did not dare to kiss her feet in her sleep (without her 
consent). I began praying but leapt up again. Lukerya kept 
watch over me and came in and out from the kitchen. 1 went 
in to her, and told her to go to bed, and that to-morrow " things 
Would be quite different.” 

And I believed in this, blindly,, madly. 

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Oh, I was brimming over with rapture, rapture ! I was eager 
for the next day. Above all, I did not believe that anything 
could go wrong, in spite of the symptoms. Reason had not 
altogether come back to me, though the veil had fallen from 
my eyes, and for a long, long time it did not come back — not till 
to-day, not till this very day ! Yes, and how could it have 
come back then : why, she was still alive then ; why, she was hero 
before my eyes, and I was before her eyes : “ To-morrow she 
will wake up and I will tell her all this, and she will see it all.” 
That was how I reasoned then, simply and clearly, because I 
was in an ecstasy ! My great idea was the trip to Boulogne. 
I kept thinking for some reason that Boulogne would be every- 
thing, that there was something final and decisive about 
Boulogne. “ To Boulogne, to Boulogne ! ” . . • I waited 
frantically for the morning. 

CHAPTER III 

[ UNDERSTAND TOO WELL 

But you know that was only a few days ago, five days, only five 
days ago, last Tuesday ! Yes, yes, if there had only been a 
little longer, if she had only waited a little — and I would have 
dissipated the darkness ! — It was not as though she had not 
recovered her calmness. The very next day she listened to me 
with a smile, in spite of her confusion. ... All this time, all 
these five days, she was either confused or ashamed. She was 
afraid, too, very much afraid. I don’t dispute it, I am not so 
mad as to deny it. It was terror, but how could she help being 
frightened? We had so long been strangers to one another, 
had grown so alienated from one another, and suddenly all 
this. . . . But I did not look at her terror. I was dazzled by 
the new life beginning ! ... It is true, it is undoubtedly true 
that I made a mistake. There were even, perhaps, many mis- 
takes. When I woke up next day, the first thing in the morning 
(that was on Wednesday), I made a mistake : I suddenly made 
her my friend. I was in too great a hurry, too great a hurry, 
but a confession was necessary, inevitable — more than a con- 
fession ! I did not even hide what I had hidden from myself 
all my life. 1 told her straight out that the whole winter I had 
been doing nothing but brood over the certainty of her love. 
I made clear to her that my money-lending had been simply the 

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degradation of my will and my mind, my personal idea of self- 
castigation and self-exaltation. I explained to her that I really 
had been cowardly that time in the refreshment bar, that it 
was owing to my temperament, to my self-consciousness. I was 
impressed by the surroundings, by the theatre : I was doubtful 
how I should succeed and whether it would be stupid. I was not 
afraid of a duel, but of its being stupid . . . and afterwards I 
would not own it and tormented every one and had tormented 
her for it, and had married her so as to torment her for it. In 
fact, for the most part I talked as though in delirium. She herself 
took my hands and made me leave off. “ You are exaggerating 
. . . you are distressing yourself/ * and again there were tears, 
again almost hysterics ! She kept begging me not to say all 
this, not to recall it. 

I took no notice of her entreaties, or hardly noticed them : 
“ Spring, Boulogne ! There there would be sunshine, there our 
new sunshine,” I kept saying that ! I shut up the shop and 
transferred it to Dobronravov. I suddenly suggested to her 
giving all our money to the poor except the three thousand 
left me by my godmother, which we would spend on going to 
Boulogne, and then we- would come back and begin a new life 
of real work. So we decided, for she said nothing. . . . She 
only smiled. And I believe she smiled chiefl^irom delicacy, for 
fear of disappointing me. I saw, of course, that I was burden- 
some to her, don’t imagine f Was so stupid or egoistic as not to 
see it. • I saw it all, all, to tho smallest detail, I saw better than 
any one ; all the hopelessness of my position stood revealed. 

I told her everything about myself and about her. And 
about Lukerya. I told her that I had wept. . . . Oh, of course, 
I changed the conversation. I tried, too, not to say a word 
more about certain things. And, indeed, she did revive once or 
twice — I remember it, I remember it ! Why do you say I looked 
at her and saw nothing ? And if only this had not happened, 
everything would have come to life again. Why, only the day 
before yesterday, when we were talking of reading and what she 
had been reading that winter, she told me something herself, 
and laughed as she told me, recalling the scene of Gil Bias and 
the Archbishop of Granada. And with what sweet, childish 
laughter, just as in old days when we were engaged (one instant ! 
one instant !) ; how glad I was ! I was awfully struck, though, 
by the story of the Archbishop; so she had found peace of 
mind and happiness enough to laugh at that literary master- 

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pi®©® w!m® she til sitting there in the winter % +U * 

v leaV ® he ^** e **“*• 1 bought you would leave me 

like that, those were the words she uttered then on Tuesday ! 
Oh l the thought of a child of ten ! And you know she believed 
it, she believed that really everything would remain like that : 
Bhe at her table and I at mine, and we both should go on like that 
till we were sixty. And all at onee — I come forward, her husband, 
and the husband wants love ! Oh, the delusion ! Oh, my 
blindness ! 


It was a mistake, too, that I looked at her with rapture ; I 
ought to have controlled myself, as it was my rapture frightened 
her. But, indeed, I did control myself, I did not kiss her feet 
again. I never made a sign of . . . well, that I was her husband 
— oh, there was no thought of that in my mind, I only worshipped 
her ! But, you know, I couldn’t be quite silent, I could not 
refrain from speaking altogether ! I suddenly said to her 
frankly, that I enjoyed her conversation and that I thought her 
incomparably more cultured and developed than I. She flushed 
crimson and said in confusion that I exaggerated. Then, like a 
fool, I could not resist telling her how delighted I had been when 
I had stood behind the door listening to her duel, the duel of 
innocence with that low cad, and how I had enjoyed her clever- 
ness, the brilliance of her wit, and, at the same time, her child- 


like simplicity. She seemed to shudder all over, was murmuring 
again that I exaggerated, but suddenly her whole face darkened, 
she hid it in her hands and broke into sobs. . . . Then I could 


not restrain nfyself : again I fell at her feet, again I began kissing 
her feet, and again it ended in a fit of hysterics, just as on Tuesday. 
That was yesterday evening — and — in the morning. . . . 

In the morning ! Madman ! why, that morning was to-day, 
just now, only just now ! 

Listen and try to understand : why, when we met by the 
samovar (it was after yesterday’s hysterics), I was actually 
struck by her calmness, that is the actual fact ! And all night 
I had been trembling with terror over what happened yesterday. 
But suddenly she came up to me and, clasping her hands (this 
morning, this morning !) began telling me that she was a criminal, 
that she knew it, that her crime had been torturing her all the 
winter, was torturing her now. . . . That she appreciated my 
generosity. ... “I will be your faithful wife, I will respect 
you . . 


?i8 



Then I leapt up and embraced her like a madman. I kissed 
her, kissed her face, kissed her lips like a husband for the first 
time after a long separation. And why did I go out this morning, 
only for two hours . . . our passports for abroad. . . . Oh, God! 
if only I had come back five minutes, only five minutes earlier ! 
. . . That crowd at our gates, those eyes all fixed upon me. 
Oh, God ! 

Lukerya says (oh ! I will not let Lukerya go now for anything. 
She knows all about it, she has been here all the winter, she will 
tell me everything !), she says that *hen I had gone out of the 
house and only about twenty minutes before I came back — she 
suddenly went into our room to her mistress to ask her some- 
thing, I don’t remember what, and saw that her ikon (that Bame 
ikon of the Mother of God) had been taken down and was stand- 
ing before her on the table, and her mistress seemed to have 
only just been praying before it. “ What are you doing, mis- 
tress ? ” “ Nothing, Lukerya, run along.” “ Wait a minute, 

Lukerya.” " She came up and kissed me.” “ Are you happy, 
mistress ? ” I said. “ Yes, Lukerya.” " Master ought to have 
come to beg your pardon long ago, mistress. . . . Thank God 
that you are reconciled.” “ Very good, Lukerya,” she said. 
<# Go away, Lukerya,” and she smiled, but so strangely. So 
strangely that Lukerya went back ten minutes later to have a 
look at her. 

“ She was standing by the wall, close to the window, she had 
laid her arm against the wall, and her head was pressed on her 
arm, she was standing like that thinking. And she was standing 
so deep in thought that she did not hear me come and look 
at her from the other room. She seemed to be smiling — 
standing, thinking and smiling. I looked at her, turned softly 
and went out wondering to myself, and suddenly I heard the 
window opened. I went in at once to say : ‘ It’s fresh, mistress; 
mind you don’t catch cold,’ and suddenly I saw she had got on 
the window and was standing there, her full height, in the open 
window, with her back to me, holding the ikon in her hand. 
My heart sank on the spot. I cried, ‘ Mistress, mistress.’ She 
heard, made a movement to turn bock to me, but, instead of 
turning back, took a step forward, pressed the ikon to her bosom, 
and flung herself out of window.” 

I only remember that when I went in at the gate she was still 
*arm. The worst of it was they were all looking at me. At 
first they shouted and then suddenly they were silent, and then 

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all of them moved away from me . . . and she was lying there 
with the ikon. I remember, as it were, in a darkness, that I went 
up to her in silence and looked at her a long while. But all 
came round me and said something to mo. Lukerya was there 
too, but I did not see her. She says she said something to me. 
I only remember that workman. He kept shouting to me that, 
“ Only a handful of blood came from her mouth, a handful, a 
handful ! ” and he pointed to the blood on a stone. I believe 
I touched the blood with my finger, I smeared my finger, I looked 
at my finger (that I remember), and he kept repeating : “ a 
handful, a handful ! ” 

“ What do you mean by a handful ? ” I yelled with all my 
might, I am told, and I lifted up my hands and rushed at him. 

Oh, wild ! wild ! Delusion ! Monstrous ! Impossible ! 


CHAPTER IV 

I WAS ONLY FIVE MINUTES TOO LATE 

Is it not so ? Is it likely ? Can one really say it was possible ? 
What for, why did this woman die ? 

Oh, believe me, I understand, but why she died is still a 
question. She was frightened of my love, asked herself seriously 
whether to accept it or not, could not bear the question and pre- 
ferred to die. I know, I know, no need to rack my brains : 
she had made too many promises, she was afraid she could not 
keep them— it is clear. There are circumstances about it quite 
awful. 

For why did she die ? That is still a question, after all. The 
question hammers, hammers at my brain. I would have left 
her like that if she had wanted to remain like that . She did not 
believe it, that's what it was ! No — no. I am talking nonsense, 
it was not that at all. It was simply because with me she had 
to be honest — if she loved me, she would have had to love me 
altogether, and not as she would have loved the grocer. And 
as she was too chaste, too pure, to consent to such love as the 
grocer wanted she did not warn; to deceive me. Did not want 
to deceive me with half love, counterfeiting love, or a quarter 
love. They are honest, too honest, that is what it is ! I wanted 
to instil breadth of heart in her, in those days, do you 
remember ? A strange idea. 


320 



It is awfully interesting to know : did she respect me or not ? I 
don’t know whether she despised me or not. I don’t believe she 
did despise me. It is awfully strange : why did it never once 
enter my head all the winter that she despised me? I was 
absolutely convinced of the contrary up to that moment when she 
looked at me with stern surprise. Stern it was. I understood 
on the spot that she despised me. I understood once for all, 
for ever ! Ah, let her, let her despise me all her life even, only 
let her be living ! Only yesterday, she was walking about, 
talking. I simply can’t understand how she threw herself out 
of window ! And how could I have imagined it five minutes 
before ? I have called Lukerya. I won’t let Lukerya go now 
for anything ! 

Oh, we might still have understood each other ! We had 
simply become terribly estranged from one another during the 
winter, but couldn’t we have grown used to each other again ? 
Why, why, couldn’t we have come together again and begun a 
new life again ? I am generous, she was too — that was a point 
in common ! Only a few more words, another two days — no 
more, and she would have understood everything. 

What is most mortifying of all is that it is chance — simply a 
barbarous, lagging chance. That is what is mortifying ! Five 
minutes, only five minutes too late ! Had I come five minutes 
earlier, the moment would have passed away like a cloud, and 
it would never have entered her head again. And it would 
have ended by her understanding it all. But now again empty 
rooms, and me alone. Here the pendulum is ticking; it does 
not care, it has no pity. . . . There is no one — that’s the 
misery of it ! 

I keep walking about, I keep walking about. I know, I know, 
you need not tell me ; it amuses you, you think it absurd that 
I complain of chance and those five minutes. But it is ^’dent. 
Consider one thing : she did not even leave a note, say, 
“ Blame no one for my death,” as people always do. Might 
she not have thought that Lukerya might get into trouble 
“ She was alone with her,” might have been said, “ and pushed 
her out.” In any case she would have been taken up by the 
police if it had not happened that four people, from the win- 
dows, from the lodge, and from the yard, had seen her stand with 
the ikon in her hands and jump out of herself. But that, too, 
was a chance, that the people were standing there and saw her. 
No, it was all a moment, only an irresponsible moment. A sudden 

321 



impulse, a fantasy ! What if she did pray before the ikon ? It 
does not follow that she was facing death. The whole impulse 
lasted, perhaps, only some ten minutes; it was all decided, 
perhaps, while she stood against the wall with her head on her 
arm, smiling. The idea darted into her brain, she turned giddy 
and — and could not resist it. 

Say what you will, it was clearly misunderstanding. It 
would have been possible to live with me. And what if it were 
anaemia? Was it simply from poorness of blood, from the 
flagging of vital energy ? She had grown tired during the winter, 
that was what it was. . . . 

I was too late ! ! ! 

How thin she is in her coffin, how sharp her nose has grown ! 
Her eyelashes lie straight as arrows. And, you know, when she 
fell, nothing was crushed, nothing was broken ! Nothing but 
that “ handful of blood.” A dessertspoonful, that is. From 
internal injury. A strange thought : if only it were possible 
not to bury her? For if they take her away, then . . . oh, 
no, it is almost incredible that they should take her away! I 
am not mad and I am not raving — on the contrary, my mind was 
never so lucid — but what shall I do when again there is no one, 
only the two rooms, and me alone with the pledges ? Madness, 
madness, madness ! I worried her to death, that is what it is ! 

What are your laws to me now ? What do I care for your 
customs, your morals, your life, your state, your faith ! Let 
your judge judge me, let me be biought before your court, let 
me be tried by jury, and I shall say that I admit nothing. The 
judge will shout, “ Be silent, officer.’* And I will shout to 
him, “ What power have you now that I will obey ? Why 
did blind, inert force destroy that which was dearest of all ? 
What are your laws to me now? They are nothing to me.” 
Oh, I don’t care ! 

She was blind, blind ! She is dead, she does not hear ! You do 
not know with what a paradise I would have surrounded you. 
There was paradise in my soul, I would have made it blossom 
around you ! Well, you wouldn’t have loved me — so be it, what 
of it ? Things should still have been like that , everything should 
have remained like that . You should only have talked to me as a 
friend — we should have rejoiced and laughed with joy looking at 
one another. And so we should have lived. And if you had 
loved another — well, so be it, so be it ! You should have walked 
with him laughing, and I should have watched you from the 

322 



other side of the street. . . . Oh, anything, anything, if only 
she would open her eyes just once ! For one instant, only one ! 
If she would look at me as she did this morning, when she stood 
before me and made a vow to be a faithful wife ! Oh, in one 
look she would have understood it all ! 

Oh, blind force ! Oh, nature ! Men are alone on earth — 
that is what is dreadful ! “Is there a living man in the 
country ? ” cried the Russian hero. I cry the same, though I 
am not a hero, and no one answers my cry. They say the sun 
gives life to the universe. The sun is rising and — look at it, is 
it not dead? Everything is dead and everywhere there are 
dead. Men are alone — around them is silence — that is the earth ! 
" Men, .love one another ” — who said that ? Whose command- 
ment is that ? The pendulum ticks callously, heartlessly. Two 
o’clock at night. Her little shoes are standing by the little bed, 
as though waiting for her. . . . No, seriously, when they take 
her away to-morrow, what will become of me ? 


TIIE END 


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